Recycling in Playa del CarmenReduce! Reuse! Recycle! - We hear the mantra everyday. We see the ubiquitous symbol for the 3 "R"s everywhere. Our children attend classes and workshops teaching them the importance of recycling and how it benefits our lives and our environment. In an encouraging development, the current municipal administration has implemented a mandatory recycling requirement which must be fulfilled by many business owners in Solidaridad. Applicable businesses who do not comply and cannot provide proof of participation will be fined! As the Municipality of Solidaridad creates approximately 450 tons of garbage every day, the time has come for action. It is obvious that the government recognizes the importance of recycling and is actively creating strategies to make it apart of everyone's daily life.

Some of the schools in the region run their own ongoing recycling programs and this is a huge help to families such as ours. Recycling bins can also be found now at most of not all of the supermarkets and big box stores. Still without the regular pick-up service that many of us were accustomed to in the US and Canada, many people living in Playa del Carmen are unaware or confused about their options for recycling.

As tomorrow is the first "Kilo Verde" collection date for 2013, I thought this would be a good time to remind "Life's a Beach" readers about the opportunities for recycling in and around Playa del Carmen.


Rcycling in Playa del CarmenMunicipal Centro de Acopio - On the first Friday of every month, the Municipality of Solidaridad accepts all recycled items including appliances and batteries at the "centro de acopio" in downtown Playa del Carmen. The collection center is set up in front of the Municipal Plaza and is well marked. Although vehicular traffic has now been prohibited on Av. 20 between calles 8 and 10, authorities will allow you to pass if you are unloading your monthly recycling.

This is the primary recycling drive for the Municipality of Solidaridad and the option that accepts the widest range of items. Alternative collection locations for Solidaridad are arranged monthly and announced in advance of the collection date. In Puerto Aventuras, you may leave your recyclable items in the "centro de acopio" at the skate park. Business owners will obtain a receipt for their contribution which can be presented to Municipal officials as proof of compliance.

Recyclable items include:

  • Plastics (PET) - clear plastics, water bottles etc.
  • Paper - must not have crayon on it or other oily substances
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard - clean with no food oils or residue
  • Tetrapak (milk/juice cartons)
  • Batteries
  • Lighters
  • Old Electronics
  • Scrap Metal
  • Toner Cartridges
  • Aluminum - cans, clean foil etc.
  • Used Cooking Oil - in a sealed container

Kilo Verde - Of the recycling options available to the residents of Playa del Carmen, Kilo Verde is my favorite. An initiative led by the Ayuntamiento de Solidaridad, Kilo Verde was established to promote recycling, environmental care and proper waste management. Kilo Verde encourages residents of the Riviera Maya to properly separate their household waste and, at the same time, contribute to the reforestation and beautification of their own neighborhoods.

This innovative social program began in 2008 and over the past few years, thanks to some new governmental recycling requirements, has steadily grown in popularity. Individuals and businesses in Playa del Carmen are welcomed to the Kilo Verde collection center where they may exchange their recycling for a lovely indigenous plant or tree. They have a variety of species available and the plants you can choose from depend on the amount of refuse you turn in. As long as you turn in at least one kilo of recyclable items, you can take a plant of your choice.

Playa del Carmen Recycling

Kilo Verde does not yet have the ability to accept the range of products that the other monthly "Cento de Acopio" can. They do take paper, newspapers, magazines, clean cardboard, plastics #1, #2, #4 and #5, cans, glass bottles and jars and electronics. Everything should be sorted and will be weighed. This fantastic new recycling project is really gaining force! It is funded by the Mexico Environmental Protection Agency and is held in a different location every month in order to be able to service as may regions of the city as possible. The center will operate from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. In order to support the needs of local business people trying to comply with the local government's new regulations, Kilo Verde is able to provide receipts valid for proof of participation. These are the dates and locations for Kilo Verde 2013:

  • January 19 – Fracc. Guadalupana
  • February 16 – Fracc. Mision de las Flores
  • March 16 – Col. Luis Donaldo Colosio
  • April 20 – Fracc. Villamar II
  • May 18 – Fracc. Mision del Carmen
  • June 15 – Domo del Ejido
  • July 20 – Colonia 28 de Julio
  • August 17 – Fracc. Villas del Sol
  • September 21 – Colonia Zazil Ha
  • October 19 - Fracc. Balam Tun
  • November 16 – Fracc. Las Palmas
  • December 21 – Colonia Nicte Ha

Last year in a Kilo Verde collection in Fracc. Villamar I,  280 regional plants were given out in exchange for 863 kilos of recyclable waste. The exact location of the Kilo Verde collection center in each neighborhood is sometimes announced a few days prior via a flier distributed on Facebook. Generally, if you drive to the area and ask around, someone will know where they have set up. Come early to get the best choice of plants!


Parque la Ceiba - An oasis of calm in the midst of urban sprawl, Parque la Ceiba maintains over 75% of its space as natural green space and has carefully interspersed several classrooms, a recycling education and collection center, an open ampitheatre, restroom facilities and a small cafe on its grounds. The park designers have also created numerous creative play areas which are placed along paths which wind through this urban jungle.

For Playa residents who do not have access to an ongoing recycling service such as those provided by some of the schools, the recycling collection center at Parque la Ceiba is the best option. Not everyone has the space in their home or apartment to store three weeks worth of recycling and for them, a trip to La Ceiba once or twice a week is a great option.

Parque la Ceiba Recycling

The collection center at Parque la Ceiba will accept: certain plastics (PET), paper, newspaper, magazines, cardboard, tetrapak, batteries, lighters, old electronics, scrap metal, toner cartridges, aluminum and used cooking oil - in a sealed container.

Not only does Parque la Ceiba operate the most complete ongoing recycling center in Playa del Carmen, they also provide many educational programs for school children to teach them the three "R"s. Modern compost bins are also set up in this area which utilize the organic remains left over from the cafe, banana peels left by visiting children and trimmings and leaved from the trees and bushes in the park. That compost is put to good use as the park maintains an onsite nursery raising and selling plants native to the region. Residents do well buying these plants because they are the most suited to the area’s soil and climate, and grow very well in containers and home gardens. Profits from sales go toward ongoing projects and park maintenance. Even if you don't have any recycling to drop off, the park is well worth a visit.

Parque La Ceiba is located at Avenida 60 and calle 1 south, just one block off of Juarez, two blocks west from the carratera 307. The park is open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm. There is generally plenty of parking on the streets surrounding the park. Admission to Parque la Ceiba is free.


Michele Kinnon

I moved to Mexico with my family in 2004 with the hope of offering our children a more global education and world view. Since then, we have traveled through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, gathering friends and life experiences and learning a lot about ourselves along the way. When we are not out and about exploring, Rob and I own and operate BuyPlaya, a Playa del Carmen real estate company and FurnitureMex. "Life's a Beach" is a catch-all blog where you may find anything from restaurant reviews, to recipes, gardening tips, commentary about expat daily life, local events, information about moving to Mexico and educating children in Playa del Carmen. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and .