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Solid Waste in Nosara

Solid waste is any garbage or other discarded materials that are results from industrial, commercial, mining, agricultural operations, and community activities.

The country of Costa Rica produces about 1.3 million tons of solid waste per year which is mainly located into four major landfills that are operated by private companies. Furthermore, of that 1.3 million tons yearly, there are 564 tons of plastic are discarded in Costa Rica daily. This waste not only accumulates into landfills, but it also spreads to sewers, streets, seas, and rivers. Currently, only 14 tons of the total amount daily is recycled in Costa Rica.

Trash that is not disposed of properly affects wildlife and humans too

  • Many animal species on land, in water, and even birds mistake it for food

  • Ingestion of waste causes intestinal blockage and eventually leads to death

  • Smaller animals get stuck in plastic, bottles, and jars and suffocate

Waste can leach toxic chemicals into water and bodies of animals that consume it - so this waste can eventually contaminate sources of drinking water, recreational water, and even sources of food.

Where does your trash go in Nosara?

In July 2020, the Nosara Civic Association closed an open landfill in the area that had been collecting garbage for the past 23 years. All non-recyclable waste is now collected by the Municipality of Nicoya and sent to the Santa Cruz landfill. The NCA will soon start the process of technical closure in the area that was previously a landfill.

Is there recycling in Nosara?

The local recycling association, Nosara Recycles, works to educate the community and reduce waste in Nosara. Their projects include recycling within the community, beach cleanups, composting, and proper waste management workshops.

Recycling is picked up weekly along the same route as trash pickup. A yearly donation to Nosara Recycles will help ensure the program keeps running!

  • No Plastic Nosara has a goal to reduce plastic, raise awareness locally, and provide alternatives to plastic for business and consumers

  • Nosara Recycles has a center that collects, compacts, and sells recyclables. They also use the center for proper education on waste management

  • Beach Clean-ups are organized monthly and the cleanest neighborhood is rewarded

  • Waste Management Workshops are used to teach the community about “proper waste management”

  • The Electronic Waste Collection Campaign collects electronics and disposes of them properly.



Environmental Protection Agency of the United States. Criteria for the Definition of Solid Waste and Solid and Hazardous Waste Exclusions.

Environmental Protection Agency of the United States. Impacts of Mismanaged Trash.

Julie Boehlke. The effects of improper garbage disposal. Sciencing. 11 December 2018.

Jason Bittel. The Lure of Landfills: How Garbage Changes Animal Behavior. Natural Resource Defence Council. 15 June 2016.

Natasha Daly. For Animals, Plastic Is Turning the Ocean Into a Minefield. National Geographic.

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