Ecolana aims to be the ultimate guide for recycling in México City. The platform provides access to information and builds connections between two main types of communities: recycling heroes (citizens) and recycling centers (collectors). Next to these key players, they also encourage consumer brands to connect and add value to the city’s recycling chain.
What’s your story?
‘We are three women who are passionate about the waste problem in Mexico. Alejandra is an Environmental Engineer and she really loves to help people. Mariana studied business and lived in Hong Kong for 6 years, but she returned to Mexico for a mission to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans. Lisseth is an Industrial Engineer and has been passionate about recycling since college, after she wrote her thesis on a recycling program that was implemented in Mexico City in 2011.’
How did your project come about?
‘Already in 2016 we came up with the idea to create an app to help people locate recycling centers in Mexico. At that time, we were working hard on our database with recycling centers and to help people recycle. Nowadays, we work with brands like Walmart and we try to bring new alliances to Ecolana. We look, for instance, for collaboration with the government to make Ecolana a Mexican ecolabel for packaging.
“We believe that the acceleration programme will help us take the next step in terms of growth and development.”
We loved all the information about Mexico City in the WDCD challenge brief, because we see the same problems. We decided to apply to the challenge because the evaluation by judges from different perspectives and expertise would provide us with the necessary credentials. Also we believe that the acceleration programme will help us take the next step in terms of growth and development.’
What was your reaction to finding out your project had been selected?
‘We were very excited and speechless! When the word was out, many people in our community, both recycling centers and recycling heroes, congratulated us. That really filled our hearts, because they will be part of something bigger than their own actions, something that could generate a more impactful change.’
In your opinion, why is creativity important in climate action and the transition to clean energy?
‘We strongly think that things must be done differently. In Mexico there’s a bad stigma around waste. It’s something that ironically, everyone produces, but there is very little knowledge about.
At the same time there are a lot of people working on recycling in Mexico and somehow we still have a low recycling rate. So, we decided to create a model that improves the actual system. We are really committed to the problem and while working on it we found many possibilities to adapt our idea, and that is what we call creativity!’
” In Mexico there’s a bad stigma around waste. It’s something that ironically, everyone produces, but there is very little knowledge about.”
WHERE IS ECOLANA NOW?
Ecolana has launched major campaigns with big producers like Tetrapak and Natura, to help promote recycling and make it available to their huge consumer base. Their network currently brings together 10 such commercial clients, with 50 recycling centres and nearly 200,000 individuals. The team looks forward to expanding their reach to other cities in Latin America.
IMPACT & DEVELOPMENT
Ecolana has recycled 1,500 tons of waste in 2019, increasing to 2,490 tons in 2020.
Ecolana has gained more than 10 business clients such as Nestlé, Colgate, Natura and Lider.
Their team has grown from three to nine members since the start of the Challenge programme.
Ecolana was a finalist of Cartier’s Women Initiative.