Recycling demand mounting

| 11/07/2014

(CNS): A private waste removal project which began as a subsidized recycling programme for plastics, cardboard, paper, glass and aluminium is being overwhelmed with the amount of recyclable goods being placed in bins at local supermarkets. With government recycling only cans, Junk, began a pilot project in partnership with supermarkets and local service clubs to create drop-off points but the demand is tremendous and the small business, which is underwriting much of the cost, is struggling to keep up with collections. Meant to be a once a week pick-up, Junk has had to increase these free community collections to three or four times a week but it’s still not able to collect the quantity of sorted waste being left at stores as quickly as it would like.

A spokesperson from the firm, which is owned in part by MLA Winston Connolly, said that some people are also leaving non-recyclables at the supermarket locations where Junk leaves recycle bins, adding to the workload, which is becoming difficult for the small business to sustain.

Although the supermarkets are offering the space for the skips and bins free and some are sharing the cost of those bins, Junk is absorbing most of the gas costs for the service. But demand is growing by the week and it is seeking more partners from local service clubs and other organisations to try and cover the costs of the private sector effort to recycle inthe absence of any meaningful programme by the Department of Environmental Health.

“Even though a number of our recyclables are actually collected at a loss, as a company, we have chosen to lead by example and take a very long term approach to recycling in Cayman,” a spokesperson for Junk told CNS. “It is our hope that along with the community, government policy and recycling legislation that others will join in and share the burden. It's the only way we can contribute to reducing what goes into the landfill and do our part to keep Cayman green."

The piles of plastics, cardboard, glass and cans sorted by residents who are keen to see their waste recycled and reused are growing steadily as more people begin to separate their rubbish but with DEH not collecting recyclables other than cans, Junk is going it alone and struggling to keep pace.

“We perform the services at the supermarket sites at significantly reduced costs and not reflective of our normal rates,” the Junk spokesperson added, explaining that as well as being a community service it allows people to see that private sector recycling at least exists in Cayman.

With the success of the programme in terms of getting people to recycle, the next step now is to come up with solutions to the growing piles and prevent regular garbage being mixed with the recyclables.

“We have come up with some solutions that hopefully are cost effective and that will save us time in sorting and processing as well as improve the aesthetics on the sites,” the firm said. “It will require everyone doing their part: community, store owners and Junk and we feel it can be done if people are committed and we all take recycling seriously and have thought about what happens after the items are deposited at the sites.”

The spokesperson is hoping to get residents to use recycling bags with $3 junk stickers per bag so that the firm only collects properly bagged and sortedrecyclables. “We have had incidents where people put bottles in a cardboard box, other people come and put garbage on the bottles, it rains and when the drivers go to collect the bottles, they are mixed with garbage or have cigarette butts stuffed in them and the box breaks apart. Residents also, in spite of recycling stickers, dump regular garbage in the bins, or put wet items into cardboard bins which has resulted in wasted bins that we have to actually deliver to the landfill, defeating the goal.”

The Junk spokesperson said the firm has dealt with community complaints relating to the unsightliness of the sites at times and he said the firm has tried to explain what it can and can't collect and why people need to do their part as well.

“It's not fair to the stores providing the space; it's not fair to the sorters who collect the recyclables and it adds to the operating costs as we have to wash and separate recyclables again, and that's after we have given 75% mark downs on our services, or even spoiling the recyclables,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to work on educating the public and ask that they please be patient as we strive to push full recycling in Cayman and revolutionize the industry.

“The irony is what was originally conceived as an introductory community project with Rotary Sunrise Grand Cayman has been overwhelmingly subscribed by the community and we have moved into the second stage of the project which is public education on recycling, including a schools programme,” he added.

The firm also have recently launched the Pink Periwinkle Bin project, where earmarked fees will go to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society or the Breast Cancer Foundation and Junk delivers anything usable to charities across the island. It is also in talks to launch in Cayman Brac shortly and has begun an audit in Little Cayman with the intent of making it a green island with a coordinating partner there.

“We believe that we can achieve great things. We need community partners to come on board and support us. We are willing to work with anyone on this cause. We are a small but ambitious company who thinks we can,” the spokesperson said.

With Cayman seemingly ready for recycling and the much anticipated dump solution still more than 18 months away, the local supermarkets are in danger of becoming swamped in recycling but Junk said they are confident things can be more organised and efficient.

Having created the Cayman Islands National Waste and Recycling Association to further promote and educate and handle the sponsorships of the bins, the junk management team said they want to transfer this to the service clubs or interested community members to take over. Lobbying for recycling legislation and standards whilst promoting a cleaner Cayman, Junk is hoping other people will become members to further the goals of the association.

Anyone interested in sorting their own waste and recycling can drop it off at the Junk bins at most of the supermarkets, including Chisholm’s in North Side and Camana Bay. Recyclers can also drop sorted items to the firm’s offices at #15A Kingbird Drive, North Sound Road.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps if port fees were lowered for recycle material leaving the island. It wouldnt be so hard for recyclers to move product off island. Unless this MLA allready has that edge.

    That said port fees add $1000 US to the cost of shipping recycle material off the island  

  2. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    There are jurisdictions in Europe where people can remove the packaging ar the exit to the store and leave the packaging behind. The store takes care of re-cycling this and costs are billed back to the manufacturers and suppliers. Where it should be. Buy a box of cereal…most of it is the cardboard container. Toothpaste is the same, and there are many other examples. In other words, the public and re-cycling centers should at least share the effort and the costs with the source.

  3. Ex-pat says:

    I'm now back in the UK after working in GT.

    Here I have two 'wheelie bins' for trash. One green for all domestic recyclable material (except glass and garden waste) and a black one for non-recyclable garbage. They get emptied every two weeks. In that time the green one almost always gets filled but the black one is rarely half-full so at least two-thirds of my garbage goes for recycling.

    I collect glass and drop it into a bottle bank on my way to work. Garden waste and kitchen vegetable waste is composted. Larger junk like scrap timber, metal and old electrial goods gets dropped off at a public recycling depot. Even old engine oil and cooking oil car get re-used. It definitely is not rocket science nor does it involve much effort.        

    Put that all in the context of Mt Trashmore and you'd reduce the size of the heap by at least two-thirds. The problem is that over the past two decades (I first came to Grand Cayman in 1992) nothing has changed. On my initial visit 22 years ago all the trash was being put into one big bin or dumpster to go to the dump – when I left 18 months ago it was exactly the same.  

    As far as I can see the only thing stopping the Cayman Islands adopting a comprehensive recycling programe is a combination of laziness and the 'what's in it for me' mentality that prevailsin the public sector. You can see it in some of the comments posted here. There's a really chidlish 'why should I do that' tone to them.  

  4. Anonyanmous says:

    If our stupidity continues grarbage will be what we will have to live off because no one will care about Cayman in the quest to get rich or richer.

  5. Anonymous says:

    "Ya can't fix stupid"

    STUPID – Government spent over six years ago about CI$600,000 to purchase a plant and wood shredding machine, it sits unused!

    STUPID – About 33% of all matter going to the George Town dump is landscaping cuttigs, the raw product of compost. We import continer loads of compost weekly.  Instead of Government using the shredding machine to shred the landscape cuttings, to sit and turn into compost in about six months, Goverment deposits this valuable resourse on Mt. Trashmore that would greatly improve our soil for farmers.

    As Forest Gump recognized – STUPID IS AS STUPID GETS – OUR GOVERNMENT! 


    • Anonymous says:

      And these ministers keep going on trips we pay for on supposedly for more research.  Why did they go on another recent trip last weekend to Washington DC?  Please inform us!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Four trash cans inside, four trash cans outside, sorting it all out, lots of cans means lots of mess and lots of bugs.  I am in the "not for me" camp.  People can do what they want in their homes but don't force me to do this nonsense.

    • Anon says:

      Don't force the rest of us to have to deal with the consequences of your laziness.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anyone could of seen this wreck coming I posted about it over a year ago. I warned the service clubs how this program would not work and that it was being set up to fail and it has.

    Big waste of money by so called sucessful business man  

    I can see it now Winston begging for some money to continue the failed program

    The biggest shame is that the collectors that work for this MLA are from Jamaica

    What a joke I am sure that the New plan for the landfill will cost a pretty penny and fail also



    • Anonymous says:

      It had been proof that people are willing to go recycle plan. It is just idiot and stupid MLA government who refuse to help with recycle programs. I know there are multi millionaires owners who start recycling metals and earn from it. I wish these recycling companies good luck!

  8. Anonymous says:

    This government and its politicians just don't get it.  When the words and the behavior do not match you look at the behavior to see the truth.

    All we have goten from politiians is lip service about recycling.

    I doubt they are up to dealing with this situaion. They can hire consultants but if the recommendation is to move the dump then the report will be sanitized.

    They are over their heads

  9. Anonymous says:

    I drove by Junk's location today(Saturday) hoping to find bins there and didn't.  Did I miss them, or do they not have them on their site?  I'm in that area every so often and willing to save them the drive, and I bet I'm not the only one.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have  to go there during office hours when they are open  and then they will take plastics, glass, cans and cardboard from you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks, that's what I was afraid of.  One of the reasons the bins at grocery stores are so popular is that they're always available, so folks don't have to take off work and make a special trip to get it done.  I hope Junk will consider putting a set at their location.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This article  and discussion are quite interesting. We will now come to understand the issues with recycling on a small scale and on an island. The cost of collection, separation, storage for months until a sufficient quantity of a material is reached, and shipping makes this a cumbersome undertaking.

    I am not saying that it should not be done but that it is not as straight forward as you may think. Source reduction needs to be pushed. Plus the destruction of all/most rubbish for energy may prove more beneficial.

  11. Old cynic says:

    The reason CIG has always refused to get seriously involved in recycling is the 'what's in it for me?' mentality that dominates the public sector decision making process. The instant civil servants and poiticians start to see this generating money that they think should be going to themselves or their friends and relatives they'll start to interfere. Remember the Matrix scandal? 

  12. Anonymous says:

    The Recycling People on Dump road, Reuse and Renew, Wish to thank everyone whom recycled with us.

     So far this year we have shipped over a HALF MILLION POUNDS  of waste off Cayman

    At no cost to anyone and at a PROFIT

    Happily everyone whom brought the material to us was also paid for it.

    Keep up the good work

  13. Anonymous says:

    Again it's the private sector trying to do what the CIG does not..These polititians can't see past the next election. There's absolutely no reason garbage taken in the GT dump can't be separated, they can easily tell people it won't be taken if it isn't propertly separated. In the US I pay S150  every 3 months for trash collection and if there's so much as a bottle or piece of cardboard in my trash can they will leave it behind. In Cayman you get your trashed picked up for free and you still Bi&^h about having to separate trash for recyling.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is a supply problem rather than demand.  The lack of local demand for recyclables is the issue.  As far as recycling goes, DEH is decades behind the ball and operating in a state of denial.  Kudos to Junk, the supermarkets, Camana Bay and all the people who are already taking the time to reduce their contributions to our trash crisis.  Less than 7 yrs left of life at GT landfill.  Consumers can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

  15. brit says:

    I am all for recyling & have bought the containers to be able to do it BUT I could scream when I go to drop off at Foster's at the airport as some bone idle lazy waste of space person has thrown their finished lunch containers & left overs inot the recyle bin instead of moving 4 more feet to the general rubbish conatiner.  Unfortunately you cannot educate the uneducated!!!!!

    • Castor says:

      "Ya can't fix stupid!" Litter is a big problem here on the Island. Many, many beautiful spots litter all over the ground! 

      • Anonymous says:

        Litter is ingrained in Caymanain Culture as well as waste.People talk so much about protecting the environment yet throw away trash with no concern fo the environment they hold so dear. A good example is how trashed the beaches are after easter weekend..

        • Anonymous says:

          What a stupid comment! Are you suggesting it is only the Caymanians who are littering……

          • Anonymous says:

            Everyone in Cayman is is a part of the culture of littering…But Caymanians should lead by example, something they are not doing..

          • Anonymous says:

            Litter creates jobs That is what i was told as to why someone would throw trash out of a window

  16. Anonymous says:

    So tell us again how the private sector can do anything the government can do, better, including garbage & recycling pick-ups? Sometimes there's wisdom in not biting off more than you can chew. And DEH's mouth is already quite full.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Finally some people with common sense, some intelligence, and pride in the environment have weighed in on this.  I guess the early responders were those with nothing else to do, so they should be able to find the time (if not the very good reasons) for segregating recyclable materials out of real garbage, especially on a island of this size!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea tell that to the Bodden Towners, they could be making money this moment, should they had let the facility in their district. There are lots of money in sorting and recycling waste.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Disappointing comments from posters about sorting trash. It would become second nature, especially if separate receptacles were available. Years ago my household sorted trash for a few weeks and it was easy, indeed a pleasure, thinking that we were making a difference. Sadly when I took a truckload to Trashmore I was told to dump it all in one container.

    If the houseware supplies stores sold sorting containers that would be a good step but truly sorting material at the landfill and a recycling programme is the real answer.  We don't need another consultant report to figure that out. 


    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe government could negotiate with Dart to have a sorting facility constructed as part of the Bodden Town waste management facility.

      • Anonymous says:

        That was part of the deal, you know, the one goverment rejected..

        • Anonymous says:

          Check the facts. It was not included. It was shown on the drawings, yes. But not included. Everything seen on the drawings besides the 3 pits (1 lined) was left for your government to do. In other words for you to assist in funding.

          • Anonymous says:

            Actually I think you should check your facts. Read the fact on the website shown below. A summary of the facts are that the Dart deal was a excellent chance to solve our garbage issues  and give us a fresh start, without even having to worry about Mount Trashmore. Another fact is that the PPM Government selfishly blew this offer off in orde to please the people of one district  and to gain political power at the mercy of eveyone else on the island. They lied about already having a solution and are know millions of dollars in the hole and still have no solutions.

            If we had went with the Dart offer this would have already been under way. The only thing I wish is that part of it was that waste management would no longer be handled by the CIG.


    • Anonymous says:

      It is a pain.  It is so annoying and such a massive imposition for no real benefit.

    • Anonymous says:

      You come round to my apartment, take my trash and sort it out then. 

      • Anonymous says:

        True Caymanian attitude..

        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          Not the same old Caymanian vs expat BS….How do you know this person is a Caymanian – you do not.  What you do know from their declared views is that they are a self centered ass&*().  Say that instead.    You undermine the essence of your point and your credibility by trying to make it a Caymanian issue in the absence of any evidence. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Point Taken, This is a typical useless Lazy Ass good for nothings matter where they may be from..

    • Anonymous says:

      Well the people who find sorting the trash out "a pleasure" can sort their trash out.  But keep you idealism out of my house.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Attack the problem of waste at the source.

    Don't buy soda's in the small bottle, but don't buy it at all.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Recycling just adds costs to the cost of living.  It is also a real pain.  Where I put my trash makes no difference to anything.

    • Anonymous says:

      I knew we had lazy ass who dont have the ambition, to sort their waste. Thats why it will need legislation.

    • LMFAO says:

      Oink oink, we've got ourselves a little piggy.

    • Anonymous says:

      That means YOU don’t love or care your own children/grandchildren future! Human like you are damaging and destroy the mother earth fast.

      • Anonymous says:

        Was your computer made in China?  Was you TV made in China?  Clothes in India?  You fly a lot?  Well these things are the real damaging things to the enviroment, not where you put your scraps.

    • Anonymous says:

      Only one possible response to this – YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

      • Anonymous says:

        Nope, the poster is probably aware of the marginal environmental utiltity of such tokenism and is aware that the real problems are issues like the West's willingness to buy products from heavily polluting economies like China and pointless crap like have 3 trash cans cluttering up a house makes no difference.  If you are such a green person are you going to stop buying any products make in China or India?  No?  Then you are drunk on the kool-aid.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Of course CIG will now need a consultants study and report…to decide if / what is going on?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Why would I possibly be interested in wasting so much time and effort sorting out the garbage?  Life is too short.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope that was sarcastic, have 3 seperate bags and as you are going to throw something out put it in the correct bag accordingly. Simple.

      • Anonymous says:

        I certainly was not being sarcastic.  I have lived in communities where the state imposed "recycling" which was policed by garbage nazis.  Do what you want in your time, but I am not going to buy into the tree-hugger agenda.

        • Anonymous says:

          Who ARE you?? If you don't care about the environment then I guess you don't care about much of anything else either.

        • Anonymous says:

          I hope to God you are not a parent.  If so, your poor children

        • Anonymous says:

          May they have bigger pea sized brains than you

        • Ole B says:

          Ole B someone mentioned something about Nazis earlier, perhaps you would like them to assist you go the Airport. I hollar.

      • Diogenes says:

        Irrespective of the lack of community minded perspective by the poster, sorting the trash is completely pointless so long as DEH simply combines it all together again.  Of course, if we had a new landfill facility that could accept separate waste and process differently – but that is apparently impossible unless it is placed somewhere other than Bodden Town!

    • Anonymous says:

      Let us hope yours will be long enough for you to become engulfed in your own detritus

    • Anonymous says:

      are you retarded?