The idea to develop a project in Medellín came out of the reflexion that environmental education about plastic waste is not only necessary in coastal regions but also inland and in cities. Indeed, waste discarded in cities is easily transported through water sources over hundreds of kilometres to reach the seas and oceans, where they provoke the issues we know today. Even though big cities tend to have more effective waste collection and treatment processes, the reality is that the infrastructures and environmental education are often very inequal from one neighbourhood to the other. By taking action and raising awareness at the root of this harmful cycle, we can reduce the amount of plastic found in our rivers and waters, foster eco-friendly ways of living and provide children and young adults with recreational and educational activities linked with waste reduction, separation and recycling.

After the success of the two first projects in the coast of Colombia, Plasticaware decided to turn its attention towards the city of Medellín, home of 2’533’000 inhabitants and capital of the mountainous Antioquia region. We started to look for alliances and partnerships in order to spread our message through the 16 communes and 5 rural areas townships of the city. We found a wonderful ally in the North-eastern library of commune 1 with their project of itinerant library “Libro Movíl”.

Indeed, the library building located in the Santo Domingo Savio neighbourhood being under reconstruction, the library had to reinvent itself and came up with this beautiful project of itinerant library that brings the literary, cultural and social offer directly to the community of the commune, through different identified places of living.

The Plasticaware team was delighted to be invited to join this cultural roaming through the commune 1 and to propose our educational activities to children and teenagers three times a week during March until July. The proximity with the community created by “Libro Movíl” gave Plasticaware an opportunity to raise awareness in sectors of greater vulnerability that could benefit a lot from waste disposal education. As in our previous project, we favour the learning by playing methodology in order to catch the kids’ attention and use movement and contests to make them integrate the Plasticaware values. We proposed for example:

  • The environmental hopscotch
  • Write your own story with the 3Rs,
  • Observation and sorting of waste races
  • Masks, origami
  • Bowling with recycled plastic bottles
  • The Plastic hero drawing
  • “Take care of your planet” poster creation 
  • Eco bags painting in partnership with Colina

The alliance with the library also provided us with visibility in the commune and new allies who got to know the project. For example, the Comunal Action of the Santo Domingo Savio neighbourhood helped us to lead diverse workshops and activities with Plastic Heroes and more than 100 children in their area.

Following the success of movie nights in other projects in the coast, Plasticaware proposed to organise one in Medellín. The UVA (Articulated Life Units) La Cordialidad honoured its name and welcomed the Plasticaware team and more than 80 kids, who brought plastic bottles to receive popcorns and enjoy a magic night together, watching a movie.

Another idea that came out of the diverse alliances Plasticaware was able to create in the city of Medellín was the San Cristobal Plogging. Plogging is an event combining a race with the collection of abandoned waste that is becoming more and more trendy all over the world. The rural township of San Cristobal was home for the first event of this kind in Medellín. In partnership with the local community and territorial committees, different routes were proposed to anyone who wanted to join the movement. More than 80 people attended the event on the World Environmental Day, which resulted in 350 kilos of waste collected.

Plasticaware also built on already existing alliances, for example with Copa Free, with whom Plasticaware worked in Rincon del Mar last year and la Guajira this year. Together, they held a conscious menstrual cycle workshop in the Granizal neighbourhood and offered a menstrual cup to 35 women.

Finally and in order to expand even more our visibility in Medellín and create new connections and synergies, Plasticaware applied to join the Aurora project. Aurora is a popular school of environmental education in Medellín, which connects selected organisations and community leaders in the field of environmental action in order to strengthen knowledge, create networks and find together new opportunities of synergies. Plasticaware is very proud to be part of this wonderful project to design new environment-friendly processes in the city of Medellín.

For more information check out our detailed document:

If you like our initiative and want to support environmental change through activities that reduce plastic pollution, you can donate right here.