Recommendations in the new solid waste management strategy, essentially what to do with the George Town landfill, focus on how government can prolong the dump’s useful life beyond summer 2021.
The report sets out a strategy that, if implemented in its entirety, could reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill to 10,000 tons a year, about 85 percent less than what goes in currently.
The consultants say recycling, composting and incinerating trash may push the landfill capacity for another “limited number of years,” but the country will still need a new landfill in the next decade.
According to updated estimates from the new draft Solid Waste Management Strategy report from consultant Amex Foster Wheeler, about 40 percent of the waste in the landfill now could have been recycled. Of the estimated 62,000 tons Grand Cayman sent to the landfill last year, almost 10,000 tons is yard waste that could instead be composted.
The consultants estimate that in the next 50 years, waste sent to the landfill could increase up to more than 250,000 tons per year if nothing is done to cut back. Even the lowest estimates put the waste headed to the landfill at 100,000 tons annually 50 years from now. The report states, “Underlying waste growth linked to population growth if left unchecked would result in a considerable increase in tonnage of solid waste.”
The strategy in the report ties in recycling and composting, and it turns the landfill into a power plant, burning the waste as it comes in to generate electricity.
Reducing what goes into the landfill, the report states, “can be as simple as passing things we no longer need on to other people to use, for example by giving items to friends or charity shops.”
The consultants write, “Waste can be prevented by both business and the general public by thinking about what we need and buy. For example, residents can reduce waste by using cotton shopping bags instead of plastic shopping bags and avoiding over-packaged products where possible.”