Recycling in Haiti: Much Needed, Long Overdue

  • Posted on: 21 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

A colleague of mine worked in Dhaka for several years, a city infinitely more crowded than Port au Prince.  Yet, Dhaka is much cleaner.  In Port au Prince, plastic bottles and trash clog the waterways creating a flooding hazard and a breeding ground for mosquitoes that transmit diseases.  It is a great place to be a goat but a hard place to be a human being.  What is the difference between Dhaka and Port au Prince? Bangladesh has recycling plants while Haiti does not.



In Dhaka, an entrepreneurial person can make ends meet by collecting trash and selling it to middle men who then bale it for the plants. This seems like a no brainer for Port au Prince and other urban centers in Haiti.  Port au Prince is  crowded, full of people who need and want a job, and ample amounts of  trash which just winds up in the canals or in the Bay of Port au Prince.  From reforestation to recycling, environmental preservation will succeed in Haiti only when it is linked to livelihoods.   Though it will take years to make the transition from environmental degradation to environmental management,  recycling could be part of the solution.  It would create jobs and make Port au Prince a cleaner and more livable city.




I was reading on Corbett’s Haiti list about an organization called the Haitian Community Development Project (HCDP).  According to the website, "The HCDP is a newly formed not for profit, tax-exempt organization based in Upstate, New York. It has received small grants in the past for projects related to the Arts, Cultural Awareness, Literacy and Social Needs of the multicultural residents in the county."



The HCDP notes they have submitted a project for a Waste Management/Incinerator for Haiti for the 2007 Energy Globe Award  Apparently, the project was funded by the European Parliament in Brussels and the group will receive their certificate (and one hopes, funding) at a national award panel in Brussels.  According to the email on Corbett’s List, a press release will be released soon and I will keep my eyes open for that.  In the meantime, you can read about their other environmental efforts and catch them at their speaking engagements.




Haiti is a beautiful country.  But it would be more beautiful without the trash in Port au Prince and elsewhere. Batteries in the countryside.  Scrap metal is littered throughout the country.  Recycling is low hanging fruit when it comes to improving the environment and the economy at the same time.  We hope HCDP and other organizations like it will succeed in their efforts.   If you would like to donate or to volunteer, below is an HCDP point of contact

Carline Seide-Murphy (

PO Box 35

Niverville, NY 12130

Phone: (518)784-4395

Cell: (518)366-2551 





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