History of ReciclArte
The ReciclArte story began in 2006 within the Costa Rican non-profit, Terra Nostra Association, in partnership with the Recycling Coalition group, founded and coordinated by Alexis Fournier.
Due to the critical importance of the reuse of waste even before its recycling, and in order to generate alternative income for women working in waste recovery centers in marginalized communities,ReciclArte was born.
This original initiative marries the reuse of waste materials, environmental education, community development and gender equality with fashion design and artisan creation.
In order to generate alternative sources of revenue to strengthen community recycling in rural areas, organized groups of women (those most often responsible for rural recycling) began to be trained in how to make this exclusive eco-jewelry, designed by the Coalición Reciclaje volunteers and by the women recyclers themselves, using only materials commonly found in recycling centers: aluminium pull-tabs from discarded beverage cans with fabric remnants, to make unique necklaces, bracelets, earrings, belts and handbags.
The original and attractive accessories began to be offered in hotel gift shops, art galleries and design centers in Costa Rica, since late 2007, in response to a small market for eco-tourists.
To meet the challenge of expanding the jewelry-making activity, while the community continues recovering waste for recycling, they needed to incorporate into the project more recycling centers and rural artisans. Further training was necessary, which in turn require higher sales volumes.
To achieve the goal of expansion a strategic alliance with Terra Nostra Association was strengthened, dedicated to environmental education.The administrative structure and logistics of ATN strongly supports marketing activities of the project and seeking funding for development.
Hewlett Packard of Costa Rica was the first to provide training funding forReciclArte in 2010. The Ford Motor Company Foundation followed suit in 2011. It was the Costa Rican bottling and beverage corporation Florida Ice and Farm that offered generous financial support for the purposes of market development for the project and for its products.
Still requiring on-going funding to train more women to meet market demands, these “campesina conservationistas” now address the first-world consumer, whose environmental awareness and buying-power can lend a hand to these creative and courageous women, to help their recycling centers survive, and to develop a culture of recycling in Central America.
ReciclArte has trained and supports the following groups of women recyclers:
ASOFAMISAE – San Antonio de Escazú | Damas Unidas – Coto Brus | ADATA – Isla de Chira | Tierra Nueva de Osa – Los Mogos