Costa Rica to become first country in world that’s both plastic and carbon-free

“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first.”

Image Credit: Andres Madrigal/The Tico Times

Leading the way in renewable resources, Costa Rica is set to become the first plastic-free and carbon-free country by 2021. The government recognizes its biodiversity to the country’s strongest asset and therefore, will make every effort to protect it.

The country announced it will eradicate single-use plastic and become completely carbon-neutral as the first country in the world to do so.

“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” President Carlos Alvarado Quesada said.

While he acknowledged that a carbon-free society is a massive task, Quesada said he would rid the country of the fossil fuels used in their transportation system.

“When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate… that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,” he said.

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The country’s plan to eradicate single-use plastic is backed by the United Nations Development Program in which Costa Rica plans to replace it will alternatives that are not petroleum based and instead either 100 recyclable or biodegradeable.

Costa Rica recently achieved “one of the lowest ratios of greenhouse gas emissions to electrical consumption on the planet,” according to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). The country has been able to generate most of its electricity from renewable resources over the past 4 years. According to ICE, three quarters of the country’s “renewable energy came from hydroelectric plants using river water; the rest was geothermal and wind power, with biomass then solar power constituting the smallest percentage.”

While these bold initiatives may take years to accomplish, the Costa Rica government has already been implementing their efforts into real change for several years making their goal a reality to come in 2021.