GraceKennedy Group - Supporting environmental stewardship
On World Earth Day, and under the theme Trees for the Earth, GraceKennedy (GK) demonstrated that the environment is serious business for the company and its staff, by joining the rest of planet Earth in celebrating the occasion.
Several students from the GraceKennedy-Parade Garden Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Centre, along Water Lane in downtown Kingston, used discarded tyres to create a mini oasis to plant trees in the area. The students also painted the theme of World Earth Day 2016, along with other uplifting messages, on the tyres.
Tanketa Chance Wilson, general manager of the Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation, explained that environmental stewardship is an important aspect of the programmes in which the children participate.
"The GraceKennedy Group strongly believes in safeguarding Jamaica's resources to pass these on to the children of tomorrow. We feel compelled to do all that we can do today to protect our country. And the best way to do this is to teach our children to have a healthy regard for the environment and to recycle where possible," she explained.
The group's PET Bottles Recycling Programme is leading the way in the removal of specific types of plastic bottles before they are added to major landfills.
Through the programme, staff members are encouraged to take their plastic bottles to work for the recycling project. The bottles are collected by Recycling Partners of Jamaica and taken to its plant, where they are baled to be exported and reused to make other plastic products. Several GK employees have been trained in environmental awareness and protection and have since become environmental ambassadors at the group's subsidiaries islandwide.
Caroline Mahfood, executive director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, stated that an important aspect is educating staff on the different types of plastics and how to reuse, reduce and recycle.
"Last year, we collected over 5,000 pounds of plastic. We have since piloted this project at the Wolmer's Trust Schools, St George's College, and Tarrant High. Some of the schools have opted to turn the project into a business," Mahfood said.
"In an effort to encourage recycling of plastic bottles, we had drums painted with the words 'plastic bottles only', which were placed beside a regular 'Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica' garbage bin at specific points in the National Stadium. We collected approximately 1,600 pounds. of plastic bottles," Mahfood said.