two birds, one stone
We want to protect our environment and create jobs at the same time.
Green Apple started on Isla Tierrabomba, next to the village of Bocachica, an under-developed village lacking paved roads, consistent access to utilities and proper waste management infrastructure.
Inadequate waste management contributes to contaminated soil and groundwater, pollution to the ocean, the spread of disease and reduced tourism – resulting in fewer jobs.
In Bocachica, unemployment is high, and those who are employed often support their families on the Colombian minimum wage of less than $10 a day.
While recent increased tourism has provided jobs, it has also raised cost of living and contributes to the waste problem. Our location on the coast makes the impacts of climate change all the more visible.
One of Cartagena’s most important and fastest growing sectors is tourism. Successful long-term development of this depends obviously, on cleanliness - both of the city and of the area’s natural assets: beaches and seas.
The city of Cartagena offers no municipal recycling scheme. The only recycling centre (El Centro de Acopio) is a privately run business. They currently receive and pay for plastic (types 1 and 2), paper, cardboard, aluminum and tin. However as there is no active market for glass, they won’t receive glass waste. They have no organic waste program.
While there is a legal requirement for businesses to move towards sustainability, there is currently no organised culture of responsibility across the hospitality sector. Coupled with a lack of municipally provided solutions and little public discourse or information, even businesses wanting to responsibly manage their waste struggle to do so.
WHY US? Why Now?
As a small island hotel, Blue Apple depends on clean beaches and seas for its business. Working next to the village of Bocachica with several people from the village, we see the damage that poor waste management does, especially when combined with unemployment and lack of opportunity.
Green Apple started at Blue Apple but is now a separate not-for-profit entity. Our connection to both Bocachica and Hospitality continues to define us and influence everything we do, and we are perfectly positioned to approach the problem from all sides.
We believe that this approach, working alongside locals on a small scale, benefitting local community and local industry while making a tangible difference to our local environment; lobbying suppliers and government while educating and involving consumers, results in a systemic and long lasting, sustainable change.
We work alongside local people and understand their need for opportunity. Through Blue Apple we have the luxury of a large amount of space that can be dedicated to a project like this. We have lived the challenges faced by a small business trying to change its habits and our program was designed with that in mind. With support from Blue Apple and fellow restaurateurs and hoteliers, we have a powerful voice with which we can speak to big suppliers and local government. The Cartagena hospitality sector is fortunate enough to connect with thousands of international clients every month, who leave with our message.