Outstanding PET commitment in Honduras: collecting, recycling, reusing
Find out how George Gatlin of the Invema Group established a collection and recycling system in Honduras to support the country and its people.
An inspiration for all: George Gatlin is quite the live wire: his story of success is just as fascinating as it is unique. Gatlin has established a new kind of recycling system in his homeland of Honduras. He is, of course, earning money from the venture but his main motivation has always been to help protect the environment and to support his poor and underprivileged compatriots. His company, the Invema Group, is headquartered in San Pedro Sula and has a second site in El Salvador. It employs 470 staff and processes 12,000 metric tons of used material, including 2,000 metric tons of PET bottles, each month. It all began with a 21-year-old George Gatlin driving around Honduras in a small lorry in 1994 setting up collection points for aluminium cans. “I’d taken it into my head that I was going to reuse valuable waste material. I went around shops and bars asking them to keep used cans for me, which I would pay for and collect from them. When I went back the following week, no one had collected any cans because they hadn’t believed me,” he says, grinning. Fortunately, that soon changed and his career as a metal trader took off. It wasn’t long before he was dealing with other types of metal such as steel and copper, and finally also PET bottles. With great effort, an open and friendly manner, and a way of addressing the needs of the people, he’d soon established an extensive collection network with area-wide coverage, gradually establishing partnerships with a growing number of suppliers.