ANDREA
GARZON

Founder of Huella Verde, a startup created to develop and implement sustainable solutions for the private sector

Andrea has dedicated her whole life to finding solutions that benefit both people and the environment. For the last year and a half she has been working on making an idea that gives a solution to massive contamination by disposable plastics become a reality. Andrea obtained her MSc in Germany in Sustainable Forestry and Land Use Management. After that, she worked for five years in several research and sustainable development projects in Ecuador, Germany and the Andean Region in a local NGO and in an environmental consultancy firm. Here she gained experience in the development and implementation of forestry, water and climate change projects in Latin America. Subsequently, she worked with two bilateral and one multilateral cooperation agencies: GIZ, USAID and UNREDD. Andrea was part of the construction and the beginning of the implementation of Ecuador's National REDD + Strategy (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). In 2017 she founded "Huella Verde", a startup created to develop and implement sustainable solutions for the private sector. Huella Verde developed and implemented an innovative model to eliminate the use of disposable plastic tableware in food courts. The model is being executed successfully in one shopping center in Quito and will be replicated in seven additional food courts in Ecuador in the short term, greatly reducing plastic waste that cannot be recycled. 


DESCRIBE YOUR MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET. 
I realized that many private companies are eager to implement changes to achieve higher levels of environmental sustainability, but sometimes they need solutions that are way outside of their core business. Huella Verde´s core business is to be a supplier of those solutions. The first solution that we are working on, and that is proving to be a successful one, is to eliminate the use of plastic dishware in food courts in Ecuador. How do we do that? Well, by going back to basics and washing reusable dishes and cutlery; thousands of them each day. To do this, we set up a commercial dish washing station in a food court in Quito and provide the restaurants with clean ceramic dishes and stainless-steel cutlery every morning. We collect the used dishes and cutlery, take them back to our station, wash them in state of the art equipment, store it and deliver them the next day. Reusable dishware uses far less energy and resources over its lifetime than its plastic disposable counterparts. Even with the energy and water needed to wash items, the overall environmental impact is substantially less than single-use, throw-away items. By reusing dishes, we are not only saving energy and water, but avoiding thousands of single use plastic items to end up polluting our environment each day. We are also generating new jobs for the economy.