The National Trust is asking people to stop dropping off bottles for its glass crusher.
The response has been so overwhelming, the site has begun to resemble a rubbish dump.
A sign at the National Trust Visitors Centre in Dart Park on South Church Street says the cut-off date for accepting used bottles was 1 June and the organisation is appealing to the public not to drop off any more glass.
‘We’re asking people to not bring anymore bottles to us. We don’t have the manpower or the location to be able to crush so much,’ Caroline Key, marketing manager of the National Trust said.
Bottles continue to pile up outside the Trust’s Visitor Centre, where buckets of crushed glass lie waiting for members of the public to pick them up for $1 a tub to use as fill under driveways and tarmac.
Behind the building sits a large skip, half filled with crushed glass but also containing hundreds of dumped bottles still awaiting crushing. That skip will be later removed by the Department of Environment Health which will use the crushed glass for building material to be used for fill and to cover garbage at the landfill.
Once all the bottles have been crushed, the crusher will be returned to Island Supply, which lent it to the Trust at the end of March.
‘The idea was that it was a demonstration to raise awareness. We wanted to make a statement and we’ve done just that. It has shown people when they get together, they can make things happen,’ said Ms Key, who said the Trust is delighted with the response that had shown there was a demand for such a service on the island.
‘We’re hoping a private organisation with the manpower and finances will take it up now,’ said Ms Key.
The initiative attracted many volunteers who have been spending hours crushing the glass, but even they have not been able to keep up with the growing mountain of bottles.
‘There’s been a really good response with people coming and bringing mostly rinsed out bottles to the park. Now we’re having to ask people to stop bringing the bottles,’ she said.
While mostly bottles were dumped, many are dropped off in plastic bags or boxes, creating extra waste, and leaving the site resembling a rubbish dump, especially on Mondays as many people chose to drop off bottles over weekends.
Several bars on island use glass crushers for used bottles, other than Caybrew beer, which recycles its bottles.
‘The National Trust has proven that if we create a depot, as long as it is reasonably handy, people will drop their bottles off. The government or someone should create a depot and people would definitely use it,’ Chris Weaver of Island Supply said.
Mr. Weaver said the crusher used by the National Trust would be sold to the Department of the Environment for its own bottles.
One of the problems facing restaurants and bars that crush bottles is what to do with them once they are smashed. ‘They need someone to go around and pick up the broken glass,’ he said.
His company, which also owns Jacques Scott, estimates that 20 million glass bottles are used in Cayman every year.
‘If all that glass was crushed, it could all be used as fill. Currently, we’re importing dirt from Cuba as fill,’ he said.
‘Even if the smashed bottles ended up in the landfill, it’s still 85 per cent less waste,’ he said.