CRDC Global’s new facility in Costa Rica will help us turn the corner on plastic pollution
In June 2022, we joined CRDC Global in Costa Rica for the launch of their newest RESIN8 facility, which turns plastic waste into infrastructure materials. CRDC Global is a for-profit, purpose-driven company that converts the world’s hard-to-recycle plastic waste into RESIN8: a concrete additive made from mixed plastic waste, regardless of how degraded the plastic is. Howell Conservation Fund (HCF) has been working with CRDC Global since 2019, when HCF’s Founder Brett Howell was seeking circular economy solutions for the plastic we collected from the Henderson Island expedition. Since then, our partnership with CRDC Global has blossomed, and we support them as a fiscal sponsor for their projects globally.
This event marked a huge milestone in the organization’s work. By joining forces with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) and other partners, CRDC Global will now be able to scale up their Costa Rica production: from their current output of 0.5 tons/day of RESIN8, up to 90 tons/day by later this year. “The fact that we’re launching this factory in Costa Rica is significant,” says David Zamora, Commercial Director of CRDC Global’s local partner, PEDREGAL. “Our country [Costa Rica] is known for its progressive stance on conservation and environmental best practices, and we’re proud to be part of the solution to this growing problem.” The site visit in Costa Rica kicked off with us getting our hands dirty. After a tour of the 16,275 sq ft operation at PEDREGAL, attendees were invited to participate in a cleanup of the local river, Rio Virilla. Here, the group of 35 volunteers collected more than 1,100 pounds of mixed waste, most of which was plastic. This experience was an important part of the process; not only did we get a sense of the natural spaces we are protecting, but also, the plastic we collected would be turned directly into RESIN8.
The following day, we traveled to the Poas Volcano, where we got to see the wonder of the Costa Rican countryside. Since we were there in the wet season, our group found ourselves drenched by the summer rains. However, the clouds were generous enough to part long enough for us to catch a glimpse of the stunning volcano caldera, a large depression formed when a volcano erupts and collapses. Afterward, we got a flavor for the local cuisine, dining at the Doka Costa Rica coffee farm in the Alajuela province.
Having experienced some highlights of life in Costa Rica, it was finally time for the main event. Back at the PEDREGAL site, we heard speeches from CRDC Global’s CEO Donald Thomson, and PEDREGAL’s Commercial Director, David Zamora, as well as Allegra Maria of the United Nations, and Franz Tattenbach, the Costa Rican Minister of the Environment. We listened to two panel discussions on the role of local and regional waste management strategies, government incentives and private sector investment into environmental solutions, and scaling up innovative solutions to our global waste problem. We were honored to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony and delighted to see a demonstration of the five-step RESIN8 process, using the very waste that we had collected only days before. Watching this technology in action instilled a sense of reassurance that we truly can make a difference in curbing global plastic pollution.
If the value-added RESIN8 product wasn’t enough, the launch event also resulted in the signing of two major Memoranda of Understanding: the first aimed at developing CRDC Global sites throughout the Caribbean, and the second to establish the ‘Landscapes without Plastic Waste,’ a new initiative championed by CRDC Costa Rica and CRDC Global. With these two major developments taking shape, the impact of CRDC Global and its partners will continue to grow and change the world.
The site visit was a major success, helping further reinforce our relationship with CRDC Global and introducing us to other global players in the space. As our Founder Brett Howell reflected, “There is something about seeing the technology in-person, feeling the grit of RESIN8 in your hands, sharing meals, cleaning up rivers, and being there for milestone moments that brings people and organizations closer together. For me, this further demonstrated that global collaborations really can solve the root causes of conservation issues.” For more information about our partnership with this organization, check out our CRDC Global Project Page. And if you're curious about the Costa Rica facility, check out CRDC Global's video on it here. We look forward to our ongoing collaboration with CRDC Global, and would like to thank the Alex C. Walker Foundation for sponsoring our trip to this momentous event.