They say new habits are best learned when young, so we encourage more recycling programs similar to what launched last week in Montevideo, Uruguay.  The local division of PepsiCo launched a program called Reciclando, an environmental sustainability education program.  Working with the Logros Foundation (Fundación Langros), an NGO that develops environmental education programs, Reciclando will work on improving the recycling of organic and non-organic materials throughout Montevideo’s schools.

Compared to other Latin American cities, Montevideo is a village with a population of one million, but that is one-third of Uruguay’s population.  Education awareness in any capital can eventually find itself permeate throughout the country, so the Reciclando program is a solid first step.

The program involves high school students working as “agents of change” within their schools and neighborhoods.  Currently the program focuses on learning what and how materials can be recycled, which may seem basic and obvious to the sustainability or waste diversion expert.  But programs like this can spark ideas and entrepreneurship.  Visitors to Montevideo or any Uruguayan town have probably seen the recycling collectors who often load rubbish on horse-driven carts.  This program takes their efforts another step further.

There is another reason why a program like this is necessary in Uruguay--economic development.  After years of stagnation, Uruguay’s economy has been taking off, but with more opportunities also comes more waste.  Hopefully Uruguay’s young can quickly learn that with amassing wealth comes responsibility--something that took years for us to learn in North America, Europe, and now, Asia.

The program is part of PepsiCo’s “Waste to Wealth” program that the beverage company is rolling out through Latin America.

About The Author

Tricia Widgen

GGP Food Editor Tricia Widgen brings the perspective of a professional whose career has included marketing for food companies and working with Fortune 500 companies in the management consulting industry. A proud native of Virginia's Eastern Shore, her work has taken her from Boston to Bolivia. She is a graduate of University of Massachusetts-Amherst and completed her MBA at George Washington University. She spends her time between Washington, DC, and Southern California. Her articles will cover food, consumer products, and business.