San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Teens around Country Trained in Recycling

Approximately 40 teenagers from seven communities outside Costa Rica’s Central Valley recently received training and support to launch a nationwide recycling network called Red 4Rs.

The youth will run recycling centers – some of which have already been started – in their communities and will be connected to other, similar programs in Costa Rica through the Internet.

According to coordinator Alexis Fournier – originally from Canada, now living in Sabana Norte in western San José – the project looks to capitalize on the youth’s existing knowledge and give them the motivation and tools to make recycling a part of Costa Rican culture.

Fourteen employees from the U.S.-based computer chip manufacturer Intel – two for each community – will be “e-mentors” for the teens as they launch and manage their recycling projects, Fournier explained.

Each program will also have a Web site where they will post information about their projects. Software, hosting and technical assistance is provided by the Costa Rican foundation Trigona. All the sites will be linked through the program’s central Web site, where visitors can go to learn more about the different projects.

From Sept. 29-Oct. 1, the teen participants met each other in Escazú – southwest of San José – to exchange experiences, receive training and participate in workshops given by the environmental organization Fundación Neotrópica. The students also visited the recycling center in Escazú, which Fournier called “the best in the country.” “This is just the first step, not the end.

This is a process we’d like to get under way,” Fournier said. She explained that the program already has a waiting list of people from other communities who would like to participate in the next workshop, scheduled for March of next year.


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