Environment

Discover first ever country to go plastic-free as world changes before our eyes

Central American country becomes goes plastic-free and carbon-free by using entirely renewable energy.

Once upon a time, going plastic-free was something ‘other people’ did, yet with images of landfills and polluted oceans, individuals are waking up to the idea we need to do more.

And the impact of that belief is now taking shape in one small country, proudly on a mission to become the first ever to go plastic-free AND carbon-free.

So, congratulations are in order for Costa Rica!

The central American country, with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific, attracts up to 1.7m tourists annually with nearly all of them practicing eco-tourism related activities.

[Credit: Miguel Bruna]

Thanks to their conscientious visitors, Costa Rica have taken it upon themselves to declare themselves entirely plastic-free and carbon-neutral as of next year.

While they already rank in the top five countries who lead the way in renewable solutions, they strive to do even more and now operate on 100% of recycled energy.

This movement is being led by Carlos Alvarado Quesada, who was elected as the youngest president ever in Costa Rica back in 2018.

[Credit: Zachary Shea]

In his inauguration speech, he spoke of his dreams to reduce carbonisation, which can be achieved by the public using electric buses or trains powered by reusable energy.

Costa Rica’s legacy as an eco-location dates back to 2009, when they were coined as the best-performing country in the New Economics Foundation’s [NEF] Happy Planet Index.

By 2015, they proudly ran 299 days without burning coal, oil or any other natural gas by using hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar energy as natural substitutes instead.

With stunning jungles and forested areas, together with consistent rainfall that boosts the hydroelectric power plants and geothermal sources like volcanoes, Costa Rica takes advantage of its nature-related assets by preserving them to help mass consumption.

[Credit: Courtney Hall]

While the small population does contribute to a sustainable environment, the country still works hard to be productive and is considered the most progressive in Latin America.

Speaking about its revolutionary attitude, American economist Joseph Stiglitz summed it up perfectly when he said: “The country is a beacon of enlightenment – a world leader in democratic, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth.”

Looks like we know where our next trip will be booked to!

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