No Mas Plastik

Tulum Recycling

Tulum has had a very up and down relationship with recycling and if you would like to read the full drama please click here. Read More A summary is that we once had a recycling center, built by the community, and now we don’t. So, what are our options for recycling in Tulum?

No Mas Plastik is proud to have worked with all these programs and tries to help where and when we can. We have launched the sale of our amazing bracelets to support Tulum Recycles and we hope to expand to be able to include these other projects as well. Please help us help these recycling projects by buying one of our bracelets today. Each bracelet we guarantee 5 kilos of plastic are recycled!


We have a reciclaton the last Friday of every month where people and businesses can bring their recyclables to the municipio in front of the palacio.

Pick up service

There are also a couple of businesses that have a pick up service for businesses or residences for a cost.

Tulum Recycles

An amazing group of volunteers started a recycling pick up service for residences. The service runs every other Friday and always needs a sponsor for each pick-up for a cost of 2000 pesos. If you would like to donate please go to Tulum Recycles.

Puntos Limpios

Sociedad Cooperativa Tulum Sostenible has launched a pilot program to set up recycling collection sites in 12 different neighborhoods. The program includes workshops to educate people about reducing, recycling and re-using! The program will train people in the local neighborhood committees to continue monitoring the sites.

A little bit of the history behind Tulum Recycling

In 2012, Tulum started to grow rapidly and the lack of infrastructure was very evident. The local government did not look interested in tackling the problem of the rising mountain of trash being generated and then dumped in the unlined trash heap in the jungle.

Tulum Recycling
Tulum Recycling 2012

The recycling area had been moved several times and was never advertised to the community. I was lucky to be a part of a group of eight other concerned citizens and we decided that Tulum needed a recycling center so we formed the Comité del Centro De Acopio. This led us on a long winding road through the maze of trying to set up a waste management program. We were able to raise funds from over 30 local businesses to build the recycling center on municipio land. Unfortunately, we did not have the support of the municipio to run the center and we struggled as a small comité to run the center self-sustainably. We had many challenges along the way but in the end the municipio did take over the management of the center and gave it a facelift.

Endless problems to recycle

The center was operating and growing in popularity but we needed to educate people about reducing waste. There were many challenges to managing a recycling center in a place with no infrastructure for a recycling industry. In addition, the trash dump was becoming an abomination to the ecological image of Tulum with news of its growing size, water contamination and overall mismanagement hitting mainstream media. In 2016, we formed another group called Red Tulum Sostenible to try and tackle the overall waste management problem. During this time, the administration moved the landfill to a lined cell in the jungle with a plan to have a compactor and system to collect the leacheate. This cell was calculated to last 5 years and was filled in 2 years with no concrete financial plan to make a new lined cell. The trash was overflowing into unlined areas in the jungle after just 1 year. Meanwhile, the ‘old’ unlined landfill caught on fire polluting the air for miles around for over 5 MONTHS! The municipio did not even have adequate equipment to try and put the fire out. There are theories that this is a common strategy to get rid of waste problems... just burn them up.

Tulum Recycles saves the trash

There are success stories though! In the same time, a dedicated resident started a pick up service, Tulum Recycles, with one of the recycling trucks and formed a super strong group of volunteers that run a bi-monthly recycling pick service to over 200 residences. Battles are won in the middle of the war!

Years of work gone in a day

Unfortunately a step forward meant 2 steps back. In November of 2018, the administration decided to close the recycling center with a couple of days notice and no plan on re-opening the center. We were told a temporary place would be opened in 1 month’s time and a permanent place within 3-6 months. This never happened. Broken promises. All of our hearts were crushed! After 6 up and down years, the center was finally working and the community was getting involved only to have all this work ripped out from under our feet. The 2019 winter season was probably one of the biggest high seasons yet for Tulum, with massive 3,000 person raves generating massive amounts of trash. We were blind-sided and had to come up with a different plan quickly! We worked with the festival promoters on creating waste management plans and hope to continue this work within the community with not only festivals but businesses. We worked hard on promoting the monthly reciclaton but it is hard to offer recycling once a month to a whole community. This led to creating a program of recollection sites in different neighborhoods called, Puntos Limpios. It is a pilot project initiated by Sociedad Cooperativa Tulum Sostenible.

To this date (2019) the municipio still has not reopened the center

I wish I could say that we have advanced milestones in this area but the reality is that our situation has had many set-backs and few steps forward. We are actually generating 100-200 tons of trash a day in Tulum depending on the season. This is an incredible amount for a small community with no infrastructure. We need help and are always looking to partner with groups that can help find solutions to our trash problem.

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We can all make a difference even in the smallest form. Let us know how you would like to get involved today.