Recycling in Panama City

By Andrea Cooper

In a city that has been growing rapidly in terms of both population and economic prosperity, adequate waste management has been a real challenge for the Municipality of Panama.  While basic trash collection and street cleaning programs are well-established, Panama City is still years away from a large-scale recycling program.

Fortunately, there is an excellent option for those of us who can’t bear to throw recyclable materials into the trash!  The Center for Collection and Management of Solid Waste (Centro de Acopio y Manejo de Desechos Solidos or “CAM” in Spanish) is the largest permanent recycling center in the greater Panama City area.

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The public is welcome to bring the following materials to the Center:

  • Paper:  White bond, colored paper, newspaper, glossy/magazine paper, phone directories, books without spines

  • Cardboard:  Corrugated cardboard, boxboard, manilla envelopes and paper, gray or colored paper egg cartons

  • Tetrapack containers

  • Plastic:  High density PET (marked with a number “1”) or polyethylene HDPE (marked with a #2)

  • Glass:  Bottles and jars

  • Metal:  Aluminum cans, tin cans, any scrap iron, copper or bronze

  • Electronics:  Computers, computer parts, cell phones

  • Toner cartridges:  Canon PG-40, PG-41, PG-210, PG-211; HP CC364A/X, CE285, CE 278, CB435, CB436, Q2612; Brother TN-350, TN-360, TN-380

  • Batteries:  Portable batteries of any size, laptop batteries, cell phone batteries, car batteries

  • Oil:  Used cooking oil sealed in proper containers (except for oil used to fry fish)

It is important to note that all items must be clean (i.e. no food residue) and sorted by the person who drops them off at the Center.  If staff are available, they will often help you deposit the materials in the various bins marked with each material type.

How to Get There

Head out toward the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal.  Approximately half a mile before the locks, you will see a large complex on the right.  This is Ciudad del Saber/City of Knowledge.  Go through the main entrance and take your first left.  You will go approximately 150 meters, then take the first street on the right.  Just before the block ends, you will see a gated area marked with #216 and the sign “CAM / Centro de Acopio de Materiales“.  Park close to the bins and start depositing your recyclables!

Operating Hours

The Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

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