From left: José Rivera, Carmen Pagán, and Carmen Febres.
FirstBank is sustaining its support of the Martín Peña Recicla organization through a donation from its Community Reinvestment Department, which will allow it to make improvements to its headquarters so they can be used as an educational center for the G-8 communities.
In addition, through the financial institution’s “Dona tu Celu initiative” — which promotes the recycling of cell phones and is part of the “Uno con el Ambiente” program — an additional donation was made to foster its educational work on recycling in Puerto Rico, from the 1,069 cell phones that FirstBank customers dropped off in 2021.
“This donation will be used to support Caño Martín Peña projects and their surrounding communities that carry out activities that promote good practices and educate on the reduction and proper management of solid waste that impact all of us,” said Carmen Pagán, First Bank’s first vice president of compliance and community reinvestment.
Dona tu Celu began in 2014 in partnership with Puerto Rican electronic equipment recycling company E-Cycling of Puerto Rico Inc. Since then, a total of 18,288 cell phones have been recycled, representing some $16,100 in donations to Martín Peña Recicla, from the value of the recycled equipment, including cell phones and chargers.
“FirstBank’s support has helped us to have a physical space that’s in good condition where information can be shared with the community about the problem of solid waste and to have a collection center,” said Carmen Febres, president of Martín Peña Recicla.
The donation has allowed Martín Peña Recicla to refurbish its collection center and headquarters. It will also help provide the community with a physical space where they can learn about solid waste management, collection processes, packaging, and export of recyclable materials.
These improvements have been essential for the leaders of the organization to continue carrying the educational message about recycling, since they can receive groups of people to offer workshops in a comfortable and safe environment, they said.
“The cell phones that we have recycled through this alliance represent electronic waste that was diverted from reaching landfills and having a negative impact on the environment,” José Rivera, president of E-Cycling, said.
“For us, that connection with the communities is very important and to be able to contribute so that they continue with their mission of educating to reduce the ecological footprint and that people generate awareness about the issue, thus leaving a better planet for future generations,” said Rivera.