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Recycling in Chiriqui




My name is Howard Green, an expat from the USA, and always an avid recycler and supporter of this program here in my new home, Boquete. Here is an introduction from the committee that is dedicated to making Chiriqui greener:

Boquete February 1, 2018.
To the Boquete Community:
Boquete Recycle, Reduce, Reuse (Boquete RRR), is a committee created by citizens devoted to Boquete´s eco conservancy.

We are convinced that a family who recycles makes the difference, and the only way to achieve this goal is by educating and creating awareness among students, business people and the whole community.

Our group wishes to have your support to tackle this chore together. Please help us attain our programme of a clean and healthy environmentally friendly district for all “Boqueteños” and for those lucky ones who also happen to live on this paradise. This includes visitors who should be aware of their responsibility as well.

We would like to begin by reducing all non-biodegradable materials such as: aluminum, iron, plastic, paper (white and colored) cardboard, and others; at home, schools, shops and businesses. At the same time, we want to teach everyone the reason why it is important to recycle these materials. We are working to accomplish this educational process at all levels.

Also, we are organizing cleaning and collecting days for recyclable materials. This activity could be part of the social hours students have to comply at their own schools.

Boquete RRR, wants the town of Boquete to be a role model in terms of cleanliness and beauty to the point that it will make us all proud.

To all business people, we would like to include you in our data base of businesses committed with the environment. Thus, we are currently working to enroll everyone as part of our programme.

We invite you all to become active collaborators of Boquete RRR and participate of the events the Committee members duly organize.

Please support Boquete RRR pursue a better environment for a better quality of life.

We thank you in advance for your collaboration and wish you a Happy 2018.

Yours truly,
Francisco Serracin President
Comité Boquete Recicla, Reduce, Reutiliza


Next i want everyone to see where Boquete's current recycling center is, Marked by the big red X.  It is owned by a man in David who has one there, as well.

Easy to find from the main street coming from either way.  Just look for the large sign Boquete Bible Fellowship and turn as the arrow points (away from the biblioteca, across the street.)




Next, you see the list of what is accepted there at this time. Its open 8-5 M-F.


Finally, here is a map to a similar recycle center, that accepts exactly same things, located down the street from the Steak House in David. Note its marked with red X .  Its harder to find as there is a wall blocking view of the collection yard but there is an office with door facing the street, 6395 Calle Alberto Osorio.


The good news is that our group, is actively working with the mayor to help find a spot for a temporary collection of all items recyclable, INCLUDING plastics, water bottles, bags, etc. And all batteries, and equally important: Colored glass jars and bottles.  We have already had one day in January where we collected HUGE amounts of these things and they were trucked to the frontier near Paso Canoas. i think that is becuase there are buyers in Costa Rica who handle those items whereas in Panama, no one will take them from the collection centers.  Please keep checking our blog to see when the next collection will be.  We have also had days where we all encouraged to gather and collect the bottles and cans which litter our highways and streets around Boquete.  

If you do not have room to store plastics, etc, until the next collection day, why not ask a neighbor if perhaps you can jointly store in a place they have until they all can be brought in.

One last bit of advice:  Please, please, wash your cans and bottles, first before you put them in separate bags and boxes so we do not have to sort them the day you bring them in. That was a huge task and we definitely could have used more volunteers to do this sorting at the temporary collection point.

And if you arrive late, please do not leave your items unattended. That caused bad relations with the city and we need their cooperation to keep this project going.

Thank you

I welcome your additional comments.  You can also email our group at boqueterrr@gmail.com.

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We have developed a scientific theory based on a lot of observation points. We have collected at least 10,000 cans (2-3 large bags per week for several months). The cans are split into 3 categories--sodas and juices near schools/bus stops, various items scattered around, and the HUGE winner (at least 70% of the items) are light beers. Most of the light beers are in groupings of between 6 and 50 cans.

Based on our observations, we have a theory that the vast majority of littering of aluminum cans is by young men, because in our experience young men are the ones who drink light beers in large quantities (alone or with others).

This is unfortunate, because these are exactly not the people who are cleaning up litter. We see kids picking up cans for their school programs--YEAH to the schools and teachers supporting these programs. We see parents and grandparents teaching their children/grandchildren by picking up cans and explaining the importance of not littering. We see people our age and older picking up cans and other litter around town.

So, the question is, what do we do about this problem? From our observations, it appears that the majority of the littering is done by people who are currently not being reinforced for better behavior.

A suggestion we have is to charge an amount of 5 to 10 cents per cans and pay people back at the grocery store for returning the cans. This worked well in California early on in the recycling effort. Since beer sells for 50 to 70 cents per can, adding on 5 to 10 cents (and paying it back for returning it), might make a serious reduction in the litter, particularly for those people dropping large quantities of beer cans

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13 minutes ago, Joyce said:

So, the question is, what do we do about this problem?

In my opinion, there should be NO disposable cans or bottles. We buy sodas and beer by the case in returnable bottles.

It’s less expensive and helps the cause.

Why would I want to pay extra for something only to throw it away?


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          things to please remember

clean everything you bring, all bottles and cans should be washed out

please separate them into boxes, or bags so we don't have to spend precious time, separating all the items mixed together

kindly REMOVE bottle caps from water bottles and jars, we don't need them together.

Clear plastic water bottles should be seperated from all other plastics you are recycling.

bring in everything BEFORE 2pm please, do not leave anything after we close. THiiS IS A ONE DAY EVENT.  

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So that you better understand how sorting works....all aluminum items will go in one bin. All colored glass one bin. all clear glass one bin; everything washed before donating. plastic bags will go in one bin, all other plastic bottles, jars etc. wil go in another bin. Newspaper will be separated from office paper (color not important). the more you pre-sort, the easier our job will be in the sorting.   Please, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to pre-sort what you donate.  If you can join us for an hour to help sort, you will know what i mean.  Show up any time to help from 8-2pm. 
People keep asking me when we will have a permenant center.  Know that we are working on this as our number 1 priority and when I have that answer it will certainly be announced.  For now, keep checking back to see when we schedule another one.  Thank You. Howard Green

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to find us on February 18th here is a map. Super easy to find if coming from town go up the hill and you'll pass the Visitors Center on your left.  We are the very next Left turn after that.  We will mark the corner with balloons.  


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thank you again for your involvement

Edited by MacAssist
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today is Sunday March 4.  At 10am until noon i am hosting a gathering at my home where thera are about 15 bags of mixed recycing we need to sort and clean out all the trash. Bring a pair of gloves if you have any or i can give you disposables, and we have watermelon for a snack.

to get here:  

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 8.59.05 AM.png

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We are ready to do another city wide collection, on Sunday April 1 from 8am to 2pm.                 Same location as before in Alto Boquete, just past the visitors center at the top of the hill, on your left (before the Terpel station on the right). From 8 to 2pm, Easter Sunday. Please ONLY bring cleaned out recycled bottles, cans, etc. No trash please. Please separate into separate bags and boxes. We also take tin cans, aluminum (CLEAN, no food on them). batteries, newspaper, office paper, colored glass. Almost anything EXCEPT styrofoam, and clear plastic take out containers. Any bottle, any color as long as its not broken.
Again, we ask for volunteers to help us sort and clean up after 2pm. Thank You Boquetanos!

we will have tee shirts for $12, and polo shirts for $15 and hats for $6 for sale at the collection point.


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I understand about the once-a-month recycling event. But is the recycling center next to the BBF  still operable too and, if so, are they still taking aluminum and clear glass only? My aluminum and clear glass builds up a lot more quickly than my plastic.

Second question: Is there anywhere other than Roher where you can buy bottled beer and bottled sodas? The parking there has become a nightmare and sometimes there's no one available to help with loading and unloading.

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Thanks. Neither Ivan nor El Dorado is convenient for me, but it’s doable because it’s only the occasional trip.

It’s not clear who reposted the blog entry below, but it doesn’t answer my question about the recycling place downtown next to BFF.

  • Confused 1
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1 hour ago, Keith Woolford said:

Dumping a scrap car out by the street and selling it by the piece doesn't seem like appropriate activity for a recycling centre.


I thought "reuse" was one of the 3 tenants of recycling --reduce, reuse, and recycle.

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1 hour ago, Keith Woolford said:

Dumping a scrap car out by the street and selling it by the piece doesn't seem like appropriate activity for a recycling centre.


You lost me, Keith. What is this about?


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4 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

Dumping a scrap car out by the street and selling it by the piece doesn't seem like appropriate activity for a recycling centre.


I agree, Keith.   Recycling should not involve eyesores.  I am waiting for all the "electric car" batteries (which run on power generated by coal or gas, or hydroelectric,  but much less efficiently) to start being "recycled".  There will be a pile of oozing batteries that can't be "reused, recycled" but simply destroy the scenery or the planet.  Littering by re-cyclers is still littering. 

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6 hours ago, Penny said:

I thought "reuse" was one of the 3 tenants of recycling --reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Then maybe the car should go to a "reuse" centre for vehicles instead of being another roadside blemish, of which there are plenty already.


Edited by Keith Woolford
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"I am waiting for all the "electric car" batteries (which run on power generated by coal or gas, or hydroelectric,  but much less efficiently) to start being "recycled".  There will be a pile of oozing batteries that can't be "reused, recycled" but simply destroy the scenery or the planet."

Not entirely true. Car batteries such as those used in Teslas can be re-used for quite some time (years) as part of a home electric system. Even though these batteries are no longer viable as car batteries - there is much useful life. And they CAN be recycled at the end of their useful life to some extent, as long as recycling is mandated.




Edited by Gordon Bakke
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864RRR.jpg.99c53339b66fe9d8f753246c45c96faf.jpg95enRRR.jpg.e4d173993f9a0185690a81cc33e7ac60.jpg       Can you donate an hour or two?, please let me know ASAP. We can use your help anytime from 8am to 3pm.   If you are Strong person, we need help at the end, loading the truck. from 1-3pm Thanks Howard Green for RRR Boquete -let's all work together for a Greener Boquete!

Edited by MacAssist
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