Nothing is thrown away here at Hacienda Mérida. You will see bumper stickers around the premises that say “Yo no tiro basura” meaning I don’t throw away garbage. Since there is no garbage pickup and no recycling programs on the island, the hacienda has come up with creative ways to get rid of garbage that are as environmentally friendly as possible.
First garbage is sorted. Organic waste is composted. Plastic bottles (as described in my post about the Ometepe Bilingual School) are filled with non-organic waste and they are used as building materials. I guess you can take the plastic bottles all the way back to Managua, but they aren’t worth enough to make the trip worth it with the time and cost of travel. Cans are saved and brought back to Managua because they are apparently worth a lot more. I found out that glass bottles are sent back to the company (whether it is pop or beer) and they are sterilized and refilled. As for the paper, it is burned. It is mostly toilet paper which cannot be flushed and for obvious (sanitary) reasons it is necessary. I asked Alvaro if perhaps it could be composted but I guess I am not sure if that would be the healthiest thing to do.
On an island with very few other options for dealing with garbage, I give Hacienda Mérida props for their dedication to keeping the environment clean and beautiful.