It’s been two weeks since I landed in Roatán International Airport and that marked the beginning of a nonstop tour of the region. In the past two weeks I’ve been on 1 flight and 3 ferry trips (not the best experience if you get motion sickness…). The fun started with a trip the day after my arrival to one of Central America’s largest recycling facilities (Invema) in San Pedro Sula followed by a series of other meetings and a road trip to La Ceiba. The week after the San Pedro Sula trip I visited the island of Utila and the whole Think Beyond Plastic Fellows team reunited on the islands for the first time. We are still wrapping our heads around the prevalence of single-use plastic on the islands but we’ve met a lot of extremely dedicated and passionate individuals who we will work with this summer to try to make a change.
Now I finally have some time to gather my thoughts and figure out a work plan for the summer. My projects will center around business development & entrepreneurship opportunities on the Bay Islands connected to plastic reduction. I will be working with distributors and other businesses on the islands to source and import plastic alternatives, both reusable and biodegradable (such as paper, sugar cane, cardboard, pasta straws, etc.). I will also be working to increase recycling and upcycling of plastics on the islands to help stop the flow of plastics into our oceans by turning waste plastic into a commercially valuable product.
So far my focus has been on meeting with all relevant stakeholders to understand the economic, political, and social landscape of the Bay Islands before moving forward with any solutions. Soon the rest of the Think Beyond Plastic team and I will begin planning our initiatives for the summer and hopefully we will have some exciting announcements to share soon!