Plastic waste turned into valuable items

Common Goal and adidas have partnered to support a sustainable pitch renewal model in Colombia 

As part of adidas and Common Goal’s move for the planet global activation, the island of Tierra Bomba in Cartagena, Colombia, will see plastic waste turned into a football pitch as well as the creation of a new recycling business model aimed at supporting the environment and the community.  

The project is being led by Common Goal Community organisation Fútbol con Corazón and will work to increase income opportunities for residents while enabling the proper recycling of plastic waste on the island – all centred around the community’s main football pitch.  

“Football will play a key role, being the great catalyst of the entire strategy,” said Carlos Perez, executive director of Fútbol con Corazón Colombia. 

“Its pedagogical and convening power will help us to develop each of the activities designed for the project in a creative and inspiring way, allowing it to be replicable, sustainable and with high impact. 

“We believe that it is a great opportunity for this community to educate themselves and promote care for the environment in an articulated way and develop skills for its protection and conservation, based on the empowerment of the community.” 

The project revolves around three core actions. 

Turning recycled materials into sports infrastructure: 

The organisation will use plastic waste to renew and adapt the most important pitch on the island, which is currently in poor condition. The pitch will be used by 1,500 people living in Tierra Bomba for sports and recreation. 

Sustainable management process: 

To process the plastic that will be used in the renewal of the pitch, the organisation will select, and provide seed capital, machinery, and entrepreneurship training to ten leaders to learn how to process plastic as a business. After the renewal, the organisation will continue to support the leaders to build a sustainable business model. 

Education on environmental sustainability and sports:  

The organisation will deliver sport-based educational sessions promoting climate action and environmental protection. Economic independence and sustainability are also part of the educational efforts of the programme. The aim is for participants to learn how to use the waste recycling process to help them generate income. 

In 2024, the construction is still underway. At the same time, Fútbol Con Corazón implemented the Integrated Teaching Methodology (MEI), achieving an 86% weekly attendance, along with the successful execution of football matches employing the socio-emotional football methodology. 

Fútbol con Corazón has organised, in preparation for the recycling business, weekly environmental education activities involving participants' families and engaged community members, alongside one mangrove planting day and two solid waste collection days on the island, with the support of the local ‘Environmental Guardians group’. 

“In the project, they have been teaching me to improve many things, the most important of which is to have self-control of my emotions, to call my friends by their names and to respect my teachers, as well as to focus on caring for the environment of our island of Tierra Bomba. For this, I feel very proud and every week I attend my training sessions punctually,” said Juan Rodríguez, a 16-year-old participant.