On Day 16, we had the great privilege of meeting Andrea Garzón, the founder of Huella Verde Ecuador. In Ecuador, they use a lot of disposable plastic plates, which are mostly just thrown away. Only a very small percentage of them actually get recycled. Inspired by similar approaches in Germany as a former student at the University of Freiburg, Andrea introduced the idea of providing reusable plates for use in food courts in Ecuador. On a mission to reduce the amount of plastic waste, she hires out porcelain plates and metal cutlery to the eateries in food courts which are quite popular in Ecuador, sorts out central collection points and arranges for the cutlery and crockery to be washed and returned to be used again. In addition to her efforts to reduce plastic waste, this busy businesswoman is also managing to create jobs for disadvantaged women and is getting closer to achieving her goal of making people aware that they need to cut back on their use of plastic. It didn’t take her long to convince the next food court to roll out her idea.
We spent the afternoon packing everything up for the last time. First, we had to unpack all our equipment so we could sort it out before we could repack it for our flight home. This almighty task was no mean feat! It may have taken us ages, but we got there in the end.