Waste management project manager: New landfill site needed in future

 Grand Cayman will eventually need a new landfill site as an integral part of its waste management plan, project manager Jim Schubert confirmed.

Speaking at the STEM conference on Friday at the University College of the Cayman Islands, Mr. Schubert said an integrated solid waste management plan would likely involve a number of different facilities, potentially including a recycling center and waste-to-energy plant.

But, he added, “No matter what we do, we will always need a landfill. Hopefully we will minimize what goes in so we will have a smaller footprint landfill.”
He said reducing, reusing and recycling could have a big impact on diverting waste from the landfill and prolonging the life of the George Town site.
However, he acknowledged that government would ultimately be required to find a new site.

“There will be a point in the future where there will be a need for a new landfill; hopefully, when that happens, it will be a modern sanitary landfill that won’t have the same impact.

“AMEC (government’s consultant on the project) hasn’t come back to us with an estimated life for the George Town site yet. If they say it’s two years, we will have to look for a site sooner than later. If they say 10 to 15 years, we have more time to look for a future site.”

He said there is a possibility that the site could be “mined” to reduce the amount of material, but there would inevitably come a point when it was full.
Mr. Schubert, who was previously project manager for a state-of-the-art integrated waste management facility in Edmonton, Canada, said the same principles could be used in Cayman. The Edmonton facility includes a waste-to-biofuels plant, a sorting facility for recyclables and a composting facility among a network of processing plants. City officials estimate that the site will ultimately be able to re-purpose 90 percent of waste that would ordinarily have gone to a landfill.

Exactly what combination of facilities is required or could be afforded in Cayman has not yet been revealed. Mr. Schubert said the draft strategy would likely go out to consultation next month. He said the facilities could potentially be paid for by a monthly utilities bill. Taxpayers in Edmonton contribute $420 per household per year toward waste collection and management.
The costs in Cayman would likely be slightly higher because of the smaller population, Mr. Schubert indicated.

Using thermal treatment to convert waste into energy would have a significant effect on reducing the amount of trash going into the landfill, he added.
Citing Cayman’s high electricity bills, he said the capacity to use waste as fuel – 1 ton of municipal solid waste could deliver 500 kilowatt hours to the grid – could not be dismissed.

But he added, “The big advantage is it decreases the volume going into landfill. Currently, you are just building Mount Trashmore for future generations.”



  1. Sounds like the garbage problem is going to be discussed for a long time. Low tech recycling is fairly easy to implement.For example, I live in a town with about 10,000 people. We have a machine that crushes glass and also crushes and bales aluminum cans. There is also a machine that compresses the cardboard. There is a good market for the glass, the aluminum and the cardboard. Shipment off island is easy since ships are always dropping off imports. Some garbage can be recycled into topsoil and the vegetation can be chipped up and thrown into the composted garbage. Waste to energy is a more expensive process and is not as likely to be practical on the Caymans. There is also a need for significant environmental controls as air pollution is a real problem with waste to energy. Encouraging people to use photovoltaic power systems is likely to better for the environment.

  2. The CIG needs to build a little momentum and get things moving a little faster.

    Recycling is taking off and people are making money from the profitable sectors – Aluminium cans are being collected privately and the government tardiness may well leave those companies skimming the cream – the profitable side of the recycling business – and leaving the CIG with the profit neutral and loss making parts of the puzzle.

    To avoid this, there needs to be some faster progress.

    Do commercial companies get a chance to separate their waste – I heard the dumpster for one of the local bars being emptied, sounded like 50% glass bottles… Surely they could have 2 smaller dumpsters – 1 for glass, 1 for the rest.
    Similarly Offices produce lots of paper…

    The chasm to be bridged is to give landfill a nominal value! This will allow people to properly Balance the equation.
    Suddenly things that are barely profitable to recycle look much more attractive when you factor in that it costs e.g. $250 per ton to consign it to Mt Trashmore.

    Also, as all the Garbage is imported, expand the Tyre model (BUT ACTUALLY USE THE REVENUE FOR DISPOSAL). A litre of Soda MUST become more expensive to buy (and import) in a non recyclable plastic bottle than in a glass bottle or several cans.
    Why not import Soda syrup and bottle (glass) on island?
    = zero landfill soda. BUT there is more profit to be made importing ready mixed soda and foisting the problem of the plastic bottles on the CIG and the people of Cayman, adjust the economics and the problem disappears.

    Make the importer responsible for the costs associated with disposal of the packaging and you”ll see products in much more responsible containers.

    This is how Cayman can turn its disadvantage around.

  3. It”s sad that such a beautiful island nation is trapped due to inept politicians unwilling to follow through on campaign promises. each election cycle begins with the same promises and then nothing happens when they get into office. Maybe once tourism starts falling off due to competition from Cuba for Cayman tourism dollars and enough ”Trashmore” fires drive tourists away we”ll get a politician with enough guts to act on their promises. I hate to say it, but Cayman is getting complacent at a time they can”t afford to.