Recycling to expand in the new year

Government is working to get more recycling stations set up around the islands in the beginning of next year, according to Jim Schubert with the Public Works Department. 

Mr. Shubert made the comment Tuesday night during a public meeting. The team working to develop a new strategy to deal with the landfill is touring the country to answer questions about the plan. 

Mr. Schubert, who began working as senior project manager on the national solid waste policy last month, said he has been in touch with every grocery store and hopes to have new recycling sites up and running early next year. He said the recycling will be handled by private companies, but government will be in charge of the sites. 

“We want to redirect as much waste as possible away from the landfill,” he told a group of about three dozen who showed up for the Tuesday evening session at the Government Administration Building. 

The draft waste management plan aims to change the way the Cayman Islands deals with trash, diverting as much material as possible from the landfill to recycling, re-use and energy production. Consultants with KPMG found that the landfill could reach capacity in as little as five years. 

In the contract, government told the consultants with KPMG not to look at alternative sites for a landfill but to work out a strategy to handle all waste on the islands and push the landfill’s life as far as possible. 

Mr. Schubert said private recyclers will have to take in all recyclables and not just the more lucrative materials like cans. 

Along with access to recycling facilities, “Public education is a really important component,” said Chief Officer for the Ministry of Health and Culture Jennifer Ahearn. “It’s not something we waited to do.” 

Ms. Ahearn said the Department of Environmental Health already teaches about recycling in schools, prompting scoffs from some in the audience and one person calling the DEH campaign “a joke.” The chief officer responded that the new waste management strategy will include other public education components to teach more people about recycling. 

KPMG consultant Phil Scott said marketing in the new plan will involve schoolchildren who can help teach their parents about recycling cans, bottles and other household materials instead of throwing them out. 

The new proposal for a solid waste management plan relies heavily on diverting recyclables, yard waste and other things that could be reused before they reach the landfill. For items that cannot be recycled, composted or reused, the plan calls for a waste-to-energy plant to burn the material and use the heat to generate energy. 

Mr. Scott said he expects the outline business case for the solid waste strategy to be ready next month, but it could be four years before all the pieces are in place. 

The plan also calls for closing the landfills on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and transferring that material to Grand Cayman. 

Government is working with recycling companies and grocery stores to make it easier for people to drop off cans and bottles, keeping them out of the landfill. – Photo: Charles Duncan

Government is working with recycling companies and grocery stores to make it easier for people to drop off cans and bottles, keeping them out of the landfill. – Photo: Charles Duncan
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