Western Parks and Market (WPM) Waste Management Limited will be undertaking a plastic bottle recycling project in two communities in St James.
The initiative, to be launched on Valentine’s Day, February 14, is intended to reduce the volume of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles deposited at disposal sites in the parish.
It also forms part of efforts to heighten public awareness about the importance of preserving the environment.
Regional Operations Manager at WPM, Garnet Edmondson, said the project will primarily entail scheduled collection and sorting of plastic bottles in the communities, which are to be identified.
“With that removal process, they [residents] will store and keep [the bottles], and we [WPM] will collect [those] every two weeks; that will be a part of the build-up to our limited separation programme,” he explained.
Edmondson said the agency is also in the process of procuring a truck, “which will be solely dedicated to the collection of those plastic bottles”.
“So our celebration of Valentine’s Day is loving the environment [by] collecting these bottles, because they can damage the environment,” he added.
Edmondson added that WPM will also be embarking on a public education campaign in schools, aimed at fostering a more positive approach to the recycling initiative.
“We will be going into schools to have participation by students. So we will teach them the importance of how they [should] handle their waste,” he informed.
He further advised of plans to erect waste separation bins across St James to encourage recycling.
“Planning for this has already started. Further down in the year, we will be speaking with the Tourism Product Development Company regarding sponsorship of some waste bins,” he said.
Edmondson indicated that the design of the bins will be different from the regular containers, “because we want them to have three compartments where you have normal waste, organics and plastics”.
Meanwhile, the operations manager said WPM will be encouraging market vendors and other stakeholders across western Jamaica to resort to composting, which is a form of waste disposal where organic waste decomposes naturally under oxygen-rich conditions.
Edmondson said the Rural Agricultural Development Authority has been engaged to heighten farmers’ awareness about the benefits to be derived from composting, adding that “we will also be engaging our vendors and all other stakeholders regarding collecting organic material”.