Tue | Apr 7, 2020

NSWMA undertaking pilot plastic separation project in St Andrew communities

Published:Friday | February 28, 2020 | 10:45 AM
Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Audley Gordon - Contributed photo

The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is undertaking a pilot project for the separation of plastic containers involving several communities in St Andrew.

NSWMA Executive Director, Audley Gordon, told JIS News that the initiative, which began last month, is in response to calls from the public for a solution to plastic bottle disposal.

“The public has been crying out for some kind of separation. We have been getting a lot of calls to our community relations department where people are asking ‘what are we to do with our plastic bottles?’ So we decided that we need to lead a process to give people the opportunity to dispose of their plastic bottles responsibly,” he noted.

The tripartite initiative, which is in its pilot phase, involves the NSWMA engaging St Andrew residents as one of the partners in the solution.

Community relations officers from the agency have conducted sensitisation sessions in several St Andrew communities, where they distributed special garbage bags for residents to store the plastic bottles and informed them of the collection schedule.

“We are collecting every plastic bottle outside of the large five-gallon water bottles. So we are collecting your bleach bottles, your syrup bottles, your cooking oil bottles, all plastic bottles. We want to get them out of the waste stream,” Gordon said.

Once collected, the bottles are taken to the third party in the solution, Recycling Partners of Jamaica Limited, where they undergo compacting prior to being broken down and recycled into new products.

The plastic bottles are being collected from Hope Pastures; Barbican/Liguanea; Mona Heights; Havendale; Cherry Gardens/Jack’s Hill; Long Mountain; Norbrook/Waterworks; Dillsbury;  Millsborough; Lower Shortwood; Beverly Hills; and Belgrade/Smokey Vale.

“We selected 12 communities for this pilot because that’s where the bulk of the calls were coming from,” Gordon told JIS News.

“We believe that because of the kind of co-operation we receive when we have our meetings and when we talk to residents on the phone that they will help us to make this work,” he noted, adding that householders are “hungry to play a part” in proper plastic disposal.

“A lot of people before were just putting the plastic bottles in the regular garbage but they are now separating them. So separation has started in an official way in these communities,” he added.

The NSWMA intends to expand the plastic separation initiative once the pilot has ended and a review conducted.

- JIS News

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