Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Ecoventura opens a new recycling centre in the Galapagos

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

The Galapagos Islands are widely considered to be one of the most untouched and pristine ecosystems anywhere on the planet, and we at Ecoventura are determined to keep it that way.

With that in mind, and in keeping with our deep-rooted philosophy that tourism should be used as a tool to actively protect the archipelago, we have launched a new initiative – in partnership with the airline Avianca – to ensure no rubbish produced on any of our luxury expedition yachts will be sent to landfill in the Galapagos.

We are proud to lead the way in introducing sustainable practices to the Galapagos Islands, and have now installed two new state of the art machines used in the recycling process. One machine will compact plastic, cardboard, and paper for more efficient transportation, and the other breaks down glass into a powder-like substance.

These materials will then be sent – on the regular commercial passenger flights that Avianca already operate so as to avoid generating additional CO2 emissions – to mainland Ecuador, where they will be recycled to be given a new purpose. What’s more, Avianca recently reconfigured their fleet of A320 aircraft used for the short-haul flights between San Cristobal and the mainland to reduce the carbon footprint of each passenger by up to 13%.

By investing in these two machines, we are thrilled to be able to achieve our goal of leaving no waste in the Islands – a far cry from the roughly nine tons (9,000kg) of waste that used to be landfilled each year in the Galapagos Islands.

The Recycling Facility, located at Ecoventura’s warehouse on the island of San Cristobal, was officially opened this September. The ceremony was attended by the great and the good of Ecuador and the Galapagos, including Niels Olsen and Gustavo Manrique – Ministers of Tourism and the Environment respectively – along with Katherine Llerena (President of the Governing Council and Minister for Galapagos), Henry Cobos (Mayor of San Cristobal) and our very own CEO Santiago Dunn on the right in the photo below.

We at Ecoventura also passionately believe in the power of tourism to benefit local communities, and in the responsibility operators have to minimise the impact they have on the local environment.

For years we have identified ways to protect the delicate ecosystem here. For example, our itineraries are all week-long voyages (or two weeks back-to-back), to encourage longer, more in-depth experiences and reduce the number of flights passengers take when opting for only 2 or 3 day voyages.

Our bespoke designed yachts – including the Evolve which will be launching in early 2023 – have been built to reduce fuel consumption with their wave-piercing keels and lightweight composite superstructures, whilst their unique water treatment systems on board help to reduce water usage and prevent wastewater being pumped into the sea.

Single-use plastic water bottles haven’t been used for years; guests are provided with reusable water bottles, whilst biodegradable soaps and shampoos are provided in refillable containers.

As a member of Relais & Chateaux, we take great pride in the quality of the cuisine served onboard. Our chefs source over 50% of ingredients locally from small artisan businesses based in the Islands; for example, serving “brujo” (scorpion fish), spiny lobster from Galapagos (in season August to December) and Canchalagua (a shellfish) that are fished locally – thereby benefiting local fishermen and their families – as well as Galapagos cherry tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables that are featured on the menus.

Since its inception, we have combined the pleasure of discovery and genuinely authentic experiences and sustainability with an eco-designed fleet. We are proud to partner with local organizations to help conservation efforts across the islands.

One of the organizations we are particularly committed to helping is the Charles Darwin Foundation — a non-profit group dedicated to conducting scientific research in the Galapagos. Since joining forces with the CDF in 2017, Ecoventura has helped to protect the ecosystem and the animals that depend on it. We have raised over $270,000 for the Galapagos Biodiversity and Education for Sustainability Fund (the GBESF) set up by Ecoventura in collaboration with the CDF and the Galapagos National Park Directorate.

As our CEO Santiago Dunn puts it: “We must go beyond a “leave no trace” mantra, and actively improve the places that we visit. Spending time on our luxury expedition vessels takes the pressure off the islands themselves, whilst greatly contributing to the conservation efforts that we support”. 

So if you would like to support conservation efforts in the Galapagos, whilst enjoying the comforts of our luxury expedition yachts at the same time, please contact the team and we would be happy to help you plan your voyage.