Costa Rica's motto may be "pura vida" (pure life), but the country has a big trash problem. More than 60% of the 2400 tons of garbage produced daily in this tourism hot spot ends up in unregulated, open junkyards; less than 10% is recycled. Even worse, 250 tons are dumped into Costa Rica's beautiful rivers and tropical forests every day. That's why a group of architecture students from New York Institute of Technology has begun building a recycling and education center in the Costa Rican town of Nosara. Now, the students, led by NYIT professor Tobias Holler, of HOLLER Architecture, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough funds to complete the center, and document the process.
The Nosara dump
The Nosara Recycling Center will collect, compact, and sell recyclables, greatly reducing the amount of waste currently arriving at the Nosara dump and eliminating the unsanitary, hazardous, and inefficient recycling practices currently in place. The center will also serve as an education center for proper waste management.
An initial Kickstarter campaign allowed 30 NYIT students to travel to Costa Rica for the summer to work with community members to lay down the foundations for the Novara Community Center, including site grading, the concrete base, concrete-block walls, and the first wooden roof truss. "We've done a lot of work, but there's still a lot left to do," says Holler. "The local workers continue to build the project right now, but without help from the student volunteers, construction is progressing at a much slower pace." The group has taken to Kickstarter again, hoping to raise $9,000 in order to send students volunteers to the site for three weeks in January 2013 to speed up production.
Holler had been visiting Nosara for years to basque in the region's amazing biodiversity and scenery. "I started wondering if there was a way I could insert myself in the community through design or architecture," says Holler. "So I began talking to community leaders, and they said, 'What we really need is a recycling center.'" Nosara is about 40 miles away from the nearest dump, and with increasing tourism in the area, and no infrastructure or government programs to regulate waste, more and more trash ends up in the forest or river.
The project needs to meet its $9,000 goal by Thursday, December 13, so head over to the Nosara Recycling Center's Kickstarter page to donate now!
A rendering of the center
Images: courtesy of HOLLER architecture/sLAB