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Dole’s Joint Venture Recycling Company Celebrates 25 Years

Dole Food Company announced today that Recyplast S.A., an innovative plastic recycling company based in Costa Rica and with joint ownership including a subsidiary of Dole Fresh Fruit, recently surpassed 25 years in its mission to dramatically reduce and reuse agricultural waste.

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The plastic recycling facility pioneered the collection of field plastics after use in banana growing operations in Costa Rica. This reuse and recycling process includes reclamation of plastic bags that protect bananas from weather and insects, as well as the collection of plastic twine used to prop the banana plants and other plastics used to protect the fruit during cultivation. The field plastic is processed into plastic corner boards, which support and reinforce the structural integrity of shipping pallets. Even after arrival some Dole customers continue to recycle the corner board products down the chain.

This organization is a rare example of an environmental service that is vertically integrated within an industry that generates the waste, which after recycled, is used as a material in the fruit export process. The process represents the convergence of environmental, social and economic interests, creating sustainability that makes both business sense as well as public benefit.

Initially Recyplast required a fee for collecting and recycling field plastic waste generated by the banana industry to finance its operation. Today the operation generates 105 direct jobs, stands financially independent and in fact pays small businesses and community organizations to provide basic raw material: plastic waste from other agricultural operations, as well as post consumer waste from domestic uses.

As Recyplast has grown the negative impacts related to plastic use and disposal have subsided in Costa Rica. These positive results have been extended throughout Central America as the recycler now imports waste from Guatemala and Nicaragua and soon Honduras.

At a recent celebration to honor its 25th year of operations, Jose Miguel Ramirez, General Manager of Recyplast, proudly recalled how the operation has grown from producing four metric tons of plastic materials (derived from waste) per day, to over 21 metric tons today. This translates to the manufacture of 44,000 pallet corner boards each day, the equivalent needed to export over 500 containers of fruit!

Renato Acuña, President of Dole Fresh Fruit, was present at Recyplast’s 25th Anniversary celebrations held in April.

“This is a great example of social responsibility. It is clear that the leadership, dedication, and imagination demonstrated here are needed to respond to the increasing demands of our society,” stated Acuña. “The commitment of all the employees of the organization is more than evident, as is that of the community groups that manage the collection of domestic waste to be recycled.”

About Dole Food Company

Dole Food Company, Inc., is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education and research. For more information, please visit www.dole.com .

Contact:

Dole Food Company, Inc.
US Contact: William Goldfield
818-874-4647
william.goldfield@dole.com

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