LAN Cargo Recycles Rapa Nui Waste

The Latin American carrier signed a public-private agreement with the Chilean Asociacion de Industriales del Plastico to fly plastic from Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island, to the continent to be recycled. During phase 1 of the project, more than 11 tons of waste material has already been brought  from the Pacific island to the mainland.

Every single day around 10 tons of plastic and bottles are generated at Rapa Nui  -  pictures LAN Cargo
Every single day around 10 tons of plastic and bottles are generated at Rapa Nui - pictures LAN Cargo

That’s an extremely high figure: Easter Island generates around 10 tons of waste per day, with plastic bottles accounting for a large number of the rubbish.
“In Rapa Nui, 40,000 plastic bottles are processed every month but the island is only able to separate and stock them. Today, thanks to this partnership, these plastics will be transformed into different products, minimizing the carbon footprint and preventing valuable resources from ending up at waste disposal sites or the sea,” said Mariela Formas, General Manager of Asipla.

LAN Cargo is committed to environmental issues
Closing this deal required more than six months of work, during which the parties involved determined the necessary protocols for the transport and recycling of the waste.

For LAN Cargo, this agreement represents a step forward in a commitment that began in 2014 with the transport of cardboard to the continent for recycling and reuse. LAN Cargo emphasizes that the entire action is part of the company’s social responsibility initiatives, aimed at supporting the country’s southernmost communities. “It is the second agreement we sign with Easter Island and it adds to a series of initiatives carried out by LAN and LAN Cargo and targeted to the community,” said Luis Castellani, Sales Manager Domestic Cargo at LAN Cargo.

Recycable materials are brought by LAN from the island to the mainland.
Recycable materials are brought by LAN from the island to the mainland.

Tidying up the results of human consumption
According to the manager, his airline has already transported more than 300 tons of cardboard to the continent and another 15 tons of plastic. “By the end of the year, we project to transport an additional 70 tons, adding up to a total of around 170 tons of waste transported to the continent during 2015,” Señor Castellani stated. 
He went on to say: “Through these actions, we want to help improve the quality of life of the Rapa Nui community, with, not only its current inhabitants in mind, but also future generations.”

Recycling waste generates jobs and fosters income
For Easter Island, plastic recycling will turn into an income, via a sustainable business that will transform its waste into resources for its inhabitants.
“We want to turn our island into a sustainable place, a better land for all inhabitants. We want our children to have environmental conscience and to learn and care for their land. Today, we are working for future generations to enjoy the same resources we do nowadays,” said Pedro Edmunds Paoa, Easter Island Mayor.

Heiner Siegmund

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