Giving plastic waste a sustainable second life

Environment & biodiversity

  • Location:

    Bahia Ballena (Costa Rica)

  • Sponsor:

    Claire Billon-Galland

  • Grant:

    €12,000 by the 29/03/2023 Selection Committee

Project Leader

Asociacion de Conservacion Marina Innoceana

Founded in 2017 in Spain, Innoceana is a multidisciplinary group of engineers, biologists and environmental experts united to preserve the marine ecosystem. They are betting on innovation to initiate change and identify solutions with a 360-degree perspective. Their ambition is twofold: to create a global network of marine conservation centers through education, research and innovation, and to empower coastal communities.

Its actions include awareness-raising workshops for schoolchildren, the creation of audiovisual aids, the organization of expeditions to protect the oceans, and the restoration of marine ecosystems.

Innoceana has opened offices in the United States in 2020 and in Costa Rica in 2021.

Plastics at the heart of a recycling workshop

The association already carries out beach clean-up operations, collecting up to 250 kg of plastic waste per month. The next step is to ensure that these plastics are not discarded. 

Innoceana is setting up a plastic waste recycling workshop in the Bahia Ballena region of Costa Rica. The aim is not only to give a second life to the waste collected, but also to move up the chain by encouraging the population to opt for recycling rather than waste. In concrete terms, the association hopes to convince fishermen to bring their fishing lines back to the workshop for recycling rather than abandoning them in the ocean. The approach could also be extended to household waste.

The workshop will include a series of machines and tools that grind, melt and inject recycled plastic, to create new products from recycled plastic. With the support of the Veolia Foundation, Innoceana will equip itself with a shredder, an extruder, a cleaning station and furniture for the workshop. The methods and techniques employed are inspired by the Precious Plastic initiative and its open-access methods.

A second life and a lever for raising awareness

Initially, beams similar to square profiles will be produced, enabling the construction of benches, tables or small structures such as garden sheds. Depending on needs and opportunities, other products such as vases or building bricks may also be produced.

Innoceana will also use the workshop to raise awareness of the issue of plastic waste, its pollution, recycling, single use, etc. The workshop regularly welcomes tourists, students and children for excursions and training on marine biodiversity. Awareness-raising workshops on plastic waste pollution and recycling will complement the activities already developed.

The aim is to bring this pilot experiment to a successful conclusion, and then to expand and change scale: the project will then benefit a greater number of people, and its impact will be multiplied.
Claire Billon-Galland