You can recycle in San Miguel with Reciqla
By Muriel Bevilacqua Logan
Since 2008 a small, private, green and community-minded enterprise has been offering San Miguelenses a complete option for recycling nearly everything that foreign residents had been used to recycling at home. But not many Mexican nor foreign residents have taken advantage of the service.
I have watched Reciqla, a small company owned by the Quero family, grow and change over these three-plus years and wished that more of my friends and neighbors knew about the service. So I went to talk to Jose Antonio Quero, the director of public relations and marketing for Reciqla.
First, he wanted me to know that their primary motivation for this enterprise is to keep more of the recyclable material out of the municipal landfill. San Miguel generates 94 tons of garbage per day and 30 percent more during the high tourist season. He said that 30 percent of every ton could be recycled. Each family produces about 30 kilos per month of recyclable material. The new municipal landfill, inaugurated last year, could likely be completely filled in less than three years — leaving us searching for yet another landfill site— unless we get smart and recycle all that we can.
What material are we talking about? Here’s the list of materials which Reciqla manages: paper, cardboard, PET (juice and milk boxes), glass (clear and colored), plastic bottles (look for 1 or 2 on the bottom), plastic bags, copper, aluminum, tin cans, electronics and used cooking oil. All clean and dry please.
Some think that the material that goes to the landfill gets picked over and what is valuable recycled. A little does, yes, but a real recycling effort requires separation by the users so that the material is clean and not contaminated with food waste and other unmentionables, as is the general garbage.
Knowing that many people are skeptical about where this material really goes if you give it to a recycling company, and having seen egregious examples of mishandling especially of computers and other electronics by supposedly reputable recyclers in the US and elsewhere, we do need to take these concerns seriously. José Antonio gave me — and can give any prospective client — the names of the companies, most within Mexico, which recycle the paper, cardboard and plastic they collect and examples of the products they produce with recycled plastic, paper and cardboard. And best of all, the glass goes directly to our local glass factory, Guajuye, to be reused. You can take it there yourself… but perhaps you didn’t know.
Reciqla will pick up your clean, lightly sorted recyclables weekly right from your front door for the reasonable cost of 20 pesos. I live in Colonia San Antonio, and the little truck comes dependably about the same time every Thursday to collect our week’s accumulation. The home pickup service, which does not nearly pay for itself, is made possible by the participation of a very few large businesses in San Miguel, notably Rosewood and Real de Minas hotels which separate all their own recyclables, pay for their own recycling pickup and for training for their employees, and thus help to defer the cost of home pickup service for everyone else.
To begin getting the home pickup service, simply call the Reciqla telephone number 154-8621 or email them at email@example.com . They will tell you which day the truck comes to your colonia and schedule you for pickup. If you don’t feel you can be at home, or have someone else to cover the weekly pickup, then you have another simple option. The collection center for Reciqla is located on the Libramiento el Caracol (no number) uphill a couple blocks from Mega and Pollo Feliz on the town side of the road and is open from 9am to 6pm, Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9am to 3pm to receive your clean recyclables. If you just want to deliver your recyclables to keep them out of the landfill and to benefit your community, you may just drop them off. Some community members also collect recyclables, primarily plastic bottles, for a small remuneration paid on delivery to Reciqla.
Reciqla also works with 25 schools, both urban and rural, some in partnership with the environmental education program PEASMA, to teach the children — and thus their families — to separate and collect their plastic bottles and other recyclables to bring to school, which Reciqla then picks up periodically when the “Super Saco” is full.
We need a really concerted effort to spread the word and the motivation to our friends and neighbors in San Miguel to take advantage of this opportunity to help our community and our planet by recycling every kilo of material that we possibly can. Little by little we could reduce the non-recyclable garbage that must be collected and put in the landfill to a small fraction of what we now manage. Please do your part to change the culture of our beautiful town!