Beachside trash yields treasure – and then some

It’s not every day that trash spells cash. At a beach cleanup organized by the G.R.E.E.N. Team for the Sustainable Sister Islands for Recycling on Nov. 21, Brac high school students had the opportunity to make some money from the garbage they collected. 

The potential to cash in on the trash was a win for the kids and for local wildlife. 

At the Trash for Treasure Beach Clean-up, students gathered flotsam and jetsam at two beach areas on the south coast of the island that normally receive little care. Each student was paid $1 per pound of trash collected, with a minimum of 10 pounds expected. 

Kassandra DaCosta earned $81 as the top collector; David Tibbetts and Kenny Ryan each earned $40; Nelda Hunter earned $39; and Sean Valentine collected $34. 

Adults supervising the young workers included Carol Ventura, Dhalchand Seeram and Kathleen Bodden-Harris. Tony Ventura lent a hand to the cause, by helping to haul some of the heavy loads to the street side for pick-up, and a lucky few of the participants were treated to a tractor ride. In total, the community benefitted by having 234 pounds of beach litter removed from the shoreline. 

Thanks to an anonymous sponsor, the teenagers also earned points for their homeroom achievements, along with the cash just in time for the upcoming holidays. 

Afterward, at the weigh-in on Public Beach, the weary workers were treated to pizza and lemonade. 

Not all the garbage was headed to the dump, however. Plastic bottles collected will be used as source material to build two boats for the Recycling Kick-Off scheduled for Cayman Brac in the first part of 2016. 

The Kick-Off will herald the promotion of community-wide recycling efforts to reduce what ends up in the Brac landfill, and organizers hope making recycling a reality will initiate a lifestyle change for Brac residents as well. 

The Sustainable Sister Islands for Recycling group began an education program in 2015 in Brac schools which introduced and explained how the National Solid Waste Management Project will be rolled out throughout the districts. This will include sorting and collecting solid waste items for removal from the environment, reusing or repurposing these items, reducing them for maximum efficiency and having them shipped to a recycling processing center. 

Community recycling depots will be placed throughout the district, and combined with further education plans involving business, church and service oriented groups, organizers hope participation by the Brac community at large will be encouraged. 

On the day of the Recycling Kick-Off, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the site of the new Community Recycling Depot near the Aston Rutty Community Centre, followed by a fish fry at the launch site for the plastic bottle boats. The new boats will be christened, and the teen teams will race them from the vicinity of the Captain’s Table Restaurant and Carib Sands Condos to the finish line at the Brac Reef Resort. The ceremonies will conclude with a barbecue and awards presentation. 

In preparation for the big event, the organizers are seeking to assemble a team to assist with the construction of the boats for the Boys versus Girls Recycling Boat Race. Once the boats are built, another group of boys and girls will be needed to do the actual rowing and sailing to compete against each other. Assistance with adult supervision, organization and technical advice is also sought. 

Anyone interested in helping out is invited to call 916-3960. 

Kenny Ryan helped clean the beach. – Photo: Kathleen Bodden-Harris
Kenny Ryan helped clean the beach. – Photo: Kathleen Bodden-Harris