Dump strategy aims to cut waste by at least 85 percent

See the full story at the Cayman Compass Data Desk. 

 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.” 

See the full story at the Cayman Compass Data Desk. 

An estimated 62,000 tons of garbage are deposited at the George Town landfill annually. - PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

An estimated 62,000 tons of garbage are deposited at the George Town landfill annually. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY
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  1. Apparently my reading comprehension is lacking today. The article title states "…cut waste by at least 85%". And the 2nd paragraph states "… strategy that, if implemented in its entirety, could reduce up to 10,000 tons of waste a year, about 85 percent less than what goes into the landfill today.

    Isn’t "reducing up to 10K tons of waste a year" from the current estimated 62K tons per year inbound only a reduction of 16%.

    Can the author or editor clarify? The article is either confusing, incorrect, or poorly worded.

    ***Editor’s Note: Thank you for pointing this out. The article should read, "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 article has been corrected accordingly.***

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  2. And the still unanswered question is why wasn’t this all done nearly a decade ago?

    In 2006 the head of solid waste management was a highly regarded Canadian with expertise in both recycling and WTE (waste to energy). In fact when I was at Cayman Net News we discovered he was so good at this kind of work his advice was still be sought in North America while he was technically a full-time employee of CIG.

    In 2006 the minister of the day and his entourage visited the USA to check out WTE options. In 2007 the first stage of a WTE plant, including some screening of material at the dump, took place.

    Also in 2006 CIG were supplied with what amounted to the blueprints for a low-cost, permanent recycling plant at the dump. It would have dealt with both the post-Ivan material and all the tons of other reusable material that was/is being thrown away.

    What the heck happened there? Why did it all grind to a halt?

    As for the stats? Here in the UK I have two wheelie bins – one for general trash and the other for most recyclable materials. They get collected every two weeks and at the end of that fortnight the recycling bin is pretty much full while the general waste is still pretty much empty. I also compost all my waste from the garden and kitchen. In addition I have storage for at least 200 gallons of reusable rain water and my garden lighting is all solar powered. After my recent visit to Grand Cayman I even brought home things like carrier bags, which we can recycle here, rather than have them added to the dump. It clearly is not rocket science so why is it taking so long?

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