I love our new country, and most everything about the lifestyle and pace of living. However, Uruguay has not always been “green” in the ecological sense, compared to some countries.
Many “green shoots” however, including this exhibit of fantastic scuptures of animals with water bottles and various other eco-gear on them, made from recycled plastics. The dogs, cats, and frogs invaded Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport last spring in November. I took these photos when I was there waiting for the rental car to arrive.
Reusing bags, repurposing disposable packaging, making recycling available, and doing something about the damn fumes from uncontrolled diesel emissions are some areas that still need work. When our friend Julie R. Butler wrote her book Nine Months in Uruguay: Past, Present, Progress, she mentioned that in La Paloma’s supermarket, they looked at her funny and joked when she went their with their reusable shopping bags.
Lisa Marie and I spent some time in La Paloma as part of our Uruguay Reality-Check Trip™ and shopped in that store. Nope, no reusable bags. But that was May 2011. We haven’t been back to La Paloma yet, but in our slightly busier seaside town of Atlántida, both the Disco (that’s a supermarket chain, not a dance club!) and the Tienda Inglesa prominently display reusable shopping bags at the caja, and have bottle/can recycling containers outside the entrances.
Julie and her husband Jamie Douglas recently moved back to Uruguay, in fact to La Paloma. I hope they’ll be pleasantly surprised to find supermarkets selling reusable bags at the checkout, much like in the USA now. Not yet like Europe (or some parts of the US in California) where you cannot get a plastic “bolsita” at all. But promoting reuse is happening at the consumer and public presentation level.
I expect it will take off – in many other ways Uruguay has a decades-long culture of repair and reuse – keeping old items working, repairing old cars, appliance, clothing, also are ways of honoring the “3 R’s” – “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.