Hotel Tropico Latino
Tripadvisor - Certificate of Excellence - 2016

Santa Teresa Costa Rica Plastic Hits High-Fashion Runways

Plastic ocean trash collected on beaches by Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is being used to create an exclusive clothing collection by H&M.

HM Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017 uses bionic yarn photo courtesy of HM
H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017 uses Bionic Yarn made from recycled plastic, photo courtesy of H&M

Plastic ocean trash washing up on the beaches in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is now being converted to high-fashion clothing by famous clothing designer/retailer H&M for their new Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017, launching this month on April 20 in their online store and in 160 of their stores around the world.

H&M is using Bionic Yarn – polyester made of recycled plastic waste – to create their special fabrics that are changing the world’s stigma about eco-minded clothing. Cofounded by Tyson Toussant, Bionic makes thread from plastic bottles, bags, containers, etc. that are recovered from waterways and shorelines around the world.

The environmental and recycling implications with Bionic Yarn are huge, since normally plastic that washes up on beaches is in too poor of quality for traditional recycling and ends up in landfills.

According to MarViva Foundation, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year which comprises 80% of the trash in the world’s oceans.

Beach cleanup by Edward Ortega at Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Trash being picked up on the beach in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

In Santa Teresa, the local non-governmental organization Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper spearheads the town’s recycling program. It was during one of their monthly recycling campaigns last year that Toussant of Bionic, who was vacationing in Santa Teresa, became inspired by their work and made the connection for his company’s Bionic thread. Bionic donated a truck to continue collecting plastics and recyclable materials from Santa Teresa.

Unlike other plastic-based fabrics, Bionic Yarn is super soft and can adapt to almost anything you want to make, from jeans to cocktail dresses to rucksacks. For example, the poster piece in H&M’s new Conscious Exclusive Collection is a sweeping blush-color gown with swirling ruffles and a billowing pleated skirt.

HM Conscious Exclusive Collection photo courtesy of HM
H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017, photo courtesy of H&M.

Being Eco-Minded in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

While enjoying the breathtaking beaches, beautiful jungle and lovely tropical climate of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, tourists – like all travelers everywhere – leave behind a lot of trash from what they use and consume … food, drink, products, etc. This is completely normal. But in the case of small towns like Santa Teresa, which are dependent on tourism, the community has been forced to deal with the huge influx of solid waste on top of residents’ trash.

Recycling at Hotel Tropico Latino in Costa Rica 2
Recycling bins at eco-friendly Hotel Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

At the beginning of February 2017, 1,190 kilos (2,623 pounds) of recyclable waste was collected in Santa Teresa, instead of it going to the regional trash dump, according to Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper.

Founded in October 2012, Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper is dedicated to improving the quality of water in the Santa Teresa area, and helping the community properly deal with its waste waters and water waste. The NGO is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network of more than 200 organizations working to protect major watersheds around the world and equitable use of water resources globally. Costa Rica is the only Central American nation with a Waterkeeper organization.

Eco-friendly Hotel Tropico Latino helps in the recycling efforts in Santa Teresa, and follows environmental practices for responsibly managing waste, water and energy in its daily hotel operations. Be eco-conscious on vacation in Santa Teresa – stay at Hotel Tropico Latino, voted No. 2 on TripAdvisor for hotels in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Article by Shannon Farley