Recycling project to breathe life into Riverton
Industry Minister Anthony Hylton is hoping that the launch of the Jamaica Recycling Cooperative Project in Riverton Meadows in his West St Andrew constituency will transform the area into a thriving economic centre.
Addressing a ceremony in the community yesterday, Hylton said though Riverton is often overlooked, he was positive a turnaround was on the horizon.
"Riverton is the area where unwanted things are dumped, including metal and plastic bottles, but the export of it takes place right here," Hylton said.
The project, launched by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, is expected to provide employment for hundreds of Jamaicans and is housed at the Jamaica Recycling Cooperative Plant in the community.
Under the programme, plastic bottles are collected, compacted, and exported overseas.
The project is being led by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation in collaboration with a Canadian company, Turtle Island; the Small Business Association of Jamaica; the Jamaica Business Development Corporation; the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; the Social Development Commission; and the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED).
So far, Turtle Island has contributed $12 million to the project, while CARILED has provided funding support of $8.5 million.
Persons can contribute to the project by providing plastic bottles for recycling, and it is estimated that suppliers can earn about $8,000 to $10,000 per week.
"When I heard about this, I knew we were moving in the right direction. If we are able to employ a joined-up government approach and are successful with that, then I am positive that this will only be the germ, or a catalyst, for what [the recycling project] should become," Hylton said.
"I believe it is symbolic, not only for the recycling development, but for the Riverton community itself. We have long recognised that Riverton is the recycling centre and that there is tremendous possibility for this area to see huge developmental gains. We recognise now, as ministers, that there is nothing called waste. There is big business out of this."
Richard Baugh, manager of the Jamaica Recycling Plant, fought hard to hold back the tears as he expressed his joy.
"It was a challenge to get it off the ground because we had to ensure that persons were adequately trained to use the machines. We are happy … . We know it's not going to be an easy road, but I would encourage everyone to get involved," he said.
"We are looking to go into [the recycling of] tyres and cardboard, among other things, so it's big business. Most of the people depend on the dump because if I decide to close for a couple days, my phone will not stop ringing, so I know that employment opportunities will be great."