As?? Government prepares for next Wednesday???s launch of?? the Barbados Recycling Centre, a much-anticipated solid waste management facility?? at?? Vaucluse, St. Thomas, Barbadians are being encouraged to become more waste conscious, if only for the?? potential economic benefits to be gleaned.

This appeal has come from Acting Project Manager with the Solid Waste Project Unit, Ricardo Marshall, who said Barbadians were?? virtually throwing money through their doors when they discarded?? waste as if it was a mere nuisance.??

???There is an opportunity to use waste as an economic resource. Why would you in harsh economic times be throwing money away? This is literally what persons are doing when you consider the opportunities and the range of items which can be recycled,??? he explained.

According to the solid waste official, effective waste management strategies were more critical, given the myriad problems associated with the re-siting of landfills, especially in relation to their proximity to housing settlements.

Making it clear that citizens needed to show a basic level of social responsibility, Mr. Marshall underlined:?? ???As we become greener and improve our (waste management) practices for both locals and visitors alike, we need persons to play their part.

???Barbados is talking about becoming the smallest developed country in the world; if you are going to be a developed country, you have to have developed-country practices. You do not want to take the negatives of development, but you certainly want to take the positives of development,??? he cautioned.

At the level of individuals, the environmentalist said rather than complain when the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) was periodically late, householders should seek to reduce their level of waste. This would extend the life cycle of compactor trucks and, by extension, maximize the productive life of landfills, Mr. Marshall stated.??

He also highlighted the potential economic benefit for business persons who paid for collections.

???This is really part of the overall waste-minimisation and green approach. Green doesn???t just mean planting trees; it also speaks to making sound business decisions which make both environmental and economic sense,??? Mr. Marshall pointed out.

At the office level, he noted that after full use was made of paper, cartridges and other supplies, these could be recycled, thus reducing the money spent on them, as well as saving landfill space.

In an attempt to facilitate the process, Mr. Marshall said his department continued to work with public and private sector entities in coordinating waste audits to identify opportunities for diversions, and by extension, savings.

He emphasised that the Unit had also received the ???full support??? of the Ministry of Finance relative to the inclusion of deductions for environmentally-preferred products for Income Tax purposes.

Describing these products as those less harmful to the environment, Mr. Marshall cited composting and recycling bins, windows made from recyclable materials, as among qualifying products. He, however, indicated that a ???full list of green goods or products??? could be sourced from the Ministry of Finance.

Pointing out that this list was extensive and not only covered the installation of?? low-flush toilets, solar panels, solar?? lights and?? wind turbines, Mr. Marshall said it also encompassed?? the cost of environmental and energy audits for businesses, and?? the use of environmentally-preferred products for retrofitting purposes which qualified for a $2,500 income tax claim.

So, as the Vaucluse plant,?? which includes a transfer station for the sorting of waste and chemical waste and composting facilities,?? becomes operational, it is expected, in the short term, to divert?? approximately 65 percent of 1000 tonnes of waste generated daily away from landfilling?? to more productive uses.

Barbadians, meanwhile, are implored to be cognisant of the opportunities available to ???make environmentally-friendly choices that may cost them initially, but would save them in the long run???.

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