Bogotá produces more than 2 million tons of trash per year, according to Cómo Vamos, a polling and research organization. Only about 4 percent of that gets recycled.
But El Retiro Shopping Center is changing the way that Bogotanos think about recycling with a bold Christmas decor they call EcoChristmas. All of the decorations for the 2015 Christmas season are handmade by local college students.
And they are all made from recycled materials.
In August, El Retiro asked students at La Salle College, the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano and the Universidad Piloto to come up with designs for decorations that would “highlight the generation of solid waste and the reutilization of recycled materials,” according to a statement from the shopping center.
Students competed in three broad categories: Nativity scenes, gardens with trees and costumes. Other students worked on graphic design campaigns and packaging.
Finalists are already on display at El Retiro, but an overall winner will be chosen on Dec. 24. In the meantime, shoppers can get in on the game by designing their own crowns using recycled material.
“We wanted to propose an alternative for decorating our space that would use a concept that integrates design, citizen conscientiousness and young talent,” said Alessandra Santoro, manager of El Retiro.
Bogotá, while generating most of Colombia’s solid waste, is also the city that recycles the least, according to Cómo Vamos. Medellín recycles the most, with more than 17 percent of all solid waste avoiding landfills.
Finalists in Nativity scenes are Ginna López, Valeria Cruz, Adriana Arias, Daniela Ruiz, Valeria Riveros and Katherin Mora, for their design “Travesía Mágica” (Magical Voyage), and Luisa Mora, Laura Ulloa, Miguel Becerra and Maira Lagos for their design “Nido Dorado” (Golden Nest).
The finalist in the gardens category is “Somos Luz” (We Are Light) by Manuel Pineda, Nicolás Villalba, Eduardo Pacheco, Sara Rocha, Laura Tabares and Lina Flórez.
Gina Paola Jiménez took the finalist spot for costume design with “La Última Oportunidad del Mundo” (The World’s Last Opportunity), a design inspired by Santa Claus and concern for the environment.
Finalists were chosen from more than 160 entries.