Old newspapers and pet bottles being collected?? for recycling purposes.????

Government’s Solid Waste Project Unit is seeking to get more Barbadians on board, particularly with recycling, home composting and solid waste management overall.

According to the Unit’s Waste Management Coordinator, Thora Lorde, while the department would continue its education and public awareness programmes in earnest at the level of the school and the community, it would, in the near future, seek to utilise the mass media in an effort to get the message out to Barbadians at large.

"We go to community groups, churches, service organisations and so on. These groups often have a lot of projects that they may need technical assistance with, including clean-ups, and we also point out the why’s and how’s of recycling.

"In terms of the way forward – we really want to ramp it up – and have more features on television and radio, so that the broader Barbadian audience can be exposed to what we are doing. Not that we will stop the workshops, but we are going to be more visible via mass media," she underlined.

Providing an overview of the local industry, the official said they were currently several private recyclers in Barbados who collected metals, glass, plastics, paper, aluminum, brass and steel, among other items, thus providing several benefits to the society as a whole.

In terms of Government, Mrs. Lorde noted that recycling helped to divert garbage from the waste stream, therefore reducing the pressure on the Sanitation Service Authority, as well as on existing landfills.

In terms of the private sector, she noted that there were the obvious benefits to business, while individuals at the lowest level could make some money from returnables.

"Most people are aware of the pep bottles which you can take back – to the retailers; and so one would get refunds from most supermarkets. However, you can go directly to some of the recyclers to take back wine bottles, and water bottles.?? So, there are a wider range of things being removed from the waste stream.

Mrs. Lorde, however, underlined that not all items attracted money, since recyclables were priced according to their value on the open market.

"We do not recycle here – we collect and ship overseas. Therefore, at some point, for example, steel would be very valuable and at other points, ????it would not attract much money. So, you would see prices fluctuate according to the time recyclables are returned," she explained.

In response to the question whether she thought Barbadians were "getting it", with regard to recycling, and by extension, solid waste management, the solid waste spokesperson answered an emphatic "yes!"

??"I think they are. I think there are still some in the society who need a bigger nudge. For example, I feel a little upset when I drive along a road and see someone throwing something out of a vehicle window. But, then I go to the supermarket, and I am waiting in line, and little children are buying their chips or cookies and they say -"We don’t need a bag". So, that’s waste minimisation right there.

"This helps you to go on. You work for these small gains, and they come together and make a difference – slowly, but it is working. You can’t just give up," Mrs. Lorde maintained.

In addition to reviewing proposed new legislation for Solid Waste Management in Barbados, Mrs. Lorde said the department was working?? assiduously?? on?? preparations for next year’s 4R’s Fair (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover)?? which is slated to take place on February 5, 2011.

She also highlighted persons within the community who have been very active in waste minimisation and segregation; noting that the fair would expose Barbadians to the work of existing recyclers, as well as provide a more all-encompassing education on Solid Waste Management with inputs from partner agencies, including the Drainage Division, the Sanitation Service Authority and the Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage.

So, as Government seeks to ensure that Barbadians begin to?? view?? waste not simply as rubbish,?? but as a valuable?? resource, the Solid Waste Project Unit continues?? to lead the way, through its?? Integrated Solid Waste Management Programme, a 20- year vision, with waste minimisation at its core.??cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

Recycling Boxes – Recycling area for staff at??the Solid Waste Project Unit.

Recyclable Mattress: An old spring mattress waiting for disposal at the University of the West Indies.

Labelled receptacles for the collection of glass bottles, pet bottles and newspapers.

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