Any old metal …. recycle it !

In a small place like Cayman it can often seem obvious what needs to be done when faced with certain situations.
   Take disposing of scrap metal for example. Since the George Town dump, affectionately known as Mt. Trashmore, takes in waste metal, it’s the first place you might think to take your demolition waste, an old water heater or broken down stove.
   But not all of the Island’s scrap is headed to the dump. National Recycling, a local business with East End roots has an alternative, and it seems to be working. Since the February, the company has succeeded in sending four containers full of steel, copper, brass and aluminium off Island to Miami.
   It’s definitely a case of thinking locally, and acting globally.
   “The original idea behind this company was that I would see kids in the district who didn’t have lunch money,” says National Recycling’s James Moore.
   “I thought they could bring us cans and get some lunch money, and keep some waste out of the dump.”
   A native of East End, Mr. Moore is no stranger to the scrap business. He and a partner had been among the landfill scrap’s original albeit unsuccessful bidders. It may have proved to be a blessing in disguise.
   These days, the business still takes in cans, including those gathered through the programme spearheaded by Department of Environment employee Clinton Nicholson.
   But the business deals in many other scrap materials as well.
   Mr. Moore says it’s his way of contributing to Cayman’s environment, and the Island’s continued development.
   “Every government says they would do something about the dump and scrap metal,” he says.
   Indeed, plans have come and gone with regard to what’s to be done with Cayman’s scrap, much of it accumulated after Hurricane Ivan.
   The Compass has extensively reported on how Matrix International won a government contract in 2007 to clear and sell the scrap metal of thousands of cars destroyed in Hurricane Ivan and other metal debris from the landfill. But the contract was suspended in November 2007.
   Cayman’s Public Accounts committee recently heard only 6,000 of the estimated 16,000 tons of metal waste that had accumulated at the landfill had been removed.
   The government received only $310,000 of the $1.25 million it was owed, and scrap metal continues to pile up at the dump site.
   After his unsuccessful bid, Mr. Moore, who works in aggregate shipping, had initially taken on subcontracting work for Matrix, which gave him the chance to see first hand the scale of the scrap metal problem.
   As it stands, he sees his role as diverting scrap from the dump in order to do his bit for the Island.
   “The aluminium we collect is not just from cans but other items such as window frames,” says Mr. Moore.
   “And if you think it’s too big to drive over to us, we are more than happy to do pick-up.”
   He notes if anyone has a building they want to take down, the company will help in demolishing it and will ship salvageable scrap to Miami for sorting and cleaning.
   He insists at this point the business is so small and world prices so low the company’s efforts are more about helping Cayman than making a hefty profit.
   “Shipping is expensive and right now prices are low for the materials so we are hardly making money on this,” he says.
   Deputy Director of the department of Environmental Health Sean McGinn recently said that at the time the Matrix contract was signed in March 2007, scrap metal sold for about $190 per ton. Now it can sell for $50 per ton.
   Reuters reports aluminium prices reaching $1,900 a ton, while copper has risen to an 11-month high, as prices for three month delivery on the London Metal Exchange closed at $6,475 a ton.
   Given the amount he’s collecting, it’s certainly not a fortune for Mr. Moore, but it is making a difference to Cayman.
   Mr. Moore is appealing to residents and businesses with scrap metal they need to get rid of or demolition jobs to salvage the metal.
   “I see so much potential for the Island and there is so much we can do to succeed,” he says.
   “We have enough issues to deal with as it is, and garbage is not going to go away. For those who say they don’t want a dump in their backyard, where do you think all that garbage is going?”
   Mr. Moore says he is grateful for the support his business has received to date, and he has not yet approached government to take a second shot at dealing with the scrap at the dump.
   And he likes what his business is accomplishing.
   “We can’t handle big heavy metal at our site, but all the smaller stuff we can deal with it,” says Mr. Moore
   He has visions for what the future of the dump holds, including creating jobs.
   “All the money you make selling the scrap you can use it to hire local people to do the work,” he says.
   Mr. Moore encourages residents to think twice about taking their scrap metal and construction waste to the landfill.
   “There are so many parts of a building that can be recycled,” he says.
   “Please consider saving it from sitting in the landfill. If I can get this stuff and ship it off the Island for recycling, I will.”
   For more information on Cayman Recycling Centre call 769-9995 or 322-2623.
   Take disposing of scrap metal for example. Since the George Town dump, affectionately known as Mt. Trashmore, takes in waste metal, it’s the first place you might think to take your demolition waste, an old water heater or broken down stove.