Minister of Housing, Michael Lashley (second from left)??and officials from the National Housing Corporation touring the homes at Marchfield earlier this year. (FP)

A call has been made for the newly-developed Marchfield, St. Philip community to be used as a pilot for recycling.

It has come from Environment Minister, Dr. Denis Lowe, who maintained that the time is ripe for a community recycling thrust akin to what is done in North America.

"I think that we have to modernise our approach, not only our systems, and I think that once we do [this, then I think that the message would take off," Minister Lowe maintained.

Underscoring the need for the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) to take ownership and "drive" such an effort, Dr. Lowe suggested that one of the Authority’s trucks that was currently out of commission could be fixed and rebranded as a "Green Project Collection Truck".

"What I proposed to the Board (SSA) was that since we have just launched a new community in Marchfield, let us set up a pilot.?? Let us get that truck branded and furnish those residents with bins. We would provide them with a schedule which informs them when we are collecting glass versus paper versus green waste," he explained.

Speaking to the Ministry’s ongoing efforts, Minister Lowe said the Solid Waste Project Unit has been spearheading its campaign, with several private sector companies now getting involved. He, however, stressed the need for more direct community-based initiatives.

"I think we need to have a customer-relations team that actually goes out into the community and works with residents.?? I believe that we have to find the mechanisms to educate the public, but not in the traditional way through television and radio promos. It has to be a relationship-type orientation – where you do focus groups in communities and actually work on the ground," Dr. Lowe advised.

The Minister recalled an extensive community recycling effort in Cincinnati, where efforts were used to educate the community, both through media and through inter-personal contact, following which there was full buy-in after a few months.

"All in all I believe that the SSA has to take ownership of this process, because by law it is the owner of solid waste management in Barbados. There is no other entity that has permission to manage any aspect of solid waste management," Dr. Lowe contended.

On March 7, Housing Minister, Michael Lashley, officially handed over keys to 30 new homeowners in Marchfield, as part of the National Housing Corporation’s Housing Every Last Person (HELP) programme.??

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