RAAS Waste and Recycling Project

Trash in the Seagrass beds around Big Corn Island


In partnership with local groups, including a group of nearly fifty women living and working at the Nineteenth of July dumpsite in Bluefields Nicaragua; scrap metal collectors; a composting cooperative; local and regional governments; Bluefields Indian Caribbean University (BICU); the United Nations Development Program, Nicaragua (UNDP); and the locally based blueEnergy, CoLab is developing technology and business models for a comprehensive, sustainable waste management and recycling system in four municipalities in Nicaragua’s Region Autonoma del Atlantic Sur (RAAS). Designed to dramatically improve the living conditions and quality of life of the poorest region of the country (comprised of six ethnic groups), the participatory and integrated plan for solid waste management includes opportunities for enterprise development in recycling, composting, and waste to energy. CoLab’s Libby McDonald has led this project, which included a fall 2010 DUSP study group that focused on waste and recycling in the developing world (students visited the municipalities in January 2011, creating comprehensive field notes on the current state of waste management in the region). McDonald will continue this work in her fall 2011 D-Lab Waste class that will travel to Bluefields, Nicaragua in January 2012 to create technology and business plans in partnership with community organizations.  Learn more about this work through the resources below as well as through the CoLab Radio series entitled Waste Management Strategies in Coastal Nicaragua.



Project Affiliates:

Edgar Blanco (Engineering)
Amy Smith (Engineering)

Student Affiliates (2011-2012):

Luyao Li, Drew Pierson, Claire Markgraf, Anna Gross, Tatiana Berger, Maria Cassidy, Nancy Kim, Ivette Luna, Alex Marks, Terence Teo, and Nathalia Duque Ciceri

Student Affiliates (2010-2011):

Mike Tuori, Kristen Watkins, Connie Chen Lu, Evelin Enriquez, Kristin Kagetsu, Sarah Lince, and Paula Winicki, Kristen Kagetsu, Chris Olmstead, Terence Teo, Natalia Duque Ciceri


Dayna Cunningham