WE RECYCLE & UPCYCLE

We Recycle

Begun in 2017 as the Virgin Gorda Recycling Pilot, WE RECYCLE has now expanded to Tortola, with Test Recycling Centres up and running on both Tortola and Virgin Gorda. The hard work of putting partnerships, infrastructure, education programmes and monitoring & evaluation tools in place is done, and long-term funding mechanisms are being implemented.  Also, new legislation that will allow for government funding, such as a Container Deposit Bill, is moving forward. The Test Recycling Centres will compile critical data on system vulnerabilities, best practices and costs, which will be shared with Government as they move toward setting up Recycling Centres on each of the main islands as part of the new Solid Waste Management Strategy.

 Public participation is strong and growing, with broad-based appreciation that WE RECYCLE provides a way for individuals and businesses to play an active role in waste management solutions. WE RECYCLE connects businesses, government, communities, and NPOs in building a BVI Recycling & Upcycling System that will divert 70% of the waste stream - glass, plastic, aluminium and organics - from incineration and landfill and also upcycle these resources to create local products and jobs. Education is a critical component provided through our Green Certification Programme, presentations, school lesson plans, door-to-door outreach and  media campaigns.

What to Recycle? 

  • Glass - all colours. Do not include light bulbs as these often contain mercury

  • Plastic - all types of plastic except PVC

  • Aluminium cans - these are usually beverage cans and are made of a soft metal that can be crushed easily by hand. Do not include food cans. These are made of steel and cannot be crushed by hand


    Recycling bin

Tips for Recycling 

plastic

 Glass

Aluminium

Recycling Points

Download our app here to learn what to recycle and where to recycle it. See our education section on how to reduce and reuse in the BVI.

 

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What happens to your Recyclables?

To compliment our WE RECYCLE program we work with local entrepreneurs to increase upcycling on our island.  Learn more about each of the waste streams are being managed in the BVI: 

Glass

About 14% of the waste or materials stream in the BVI consists of glass. Each year, the incinerator is shut down for approximately twenty days during which time the Department of Waste Management Staff manually chip off glass that has melted onto the incinerator walls. For the duration of time that the incinerator is shut down, incoming waste is stored or burned behind the incinerator, resulting in further health hazards such as toxic smoke, flies, and vermin. Bottles that end up at the dumpsite take up significant space in the limited space available.  There are two primary strategies for dealing with glass in the BVI namely Glass Aggregate and Art. Glass Aggregate can be used  in roads, concrete applications such as floors, countertops, picture frames and much more. On a smaller scale, glass can be upcycled for art applications such as at Green VI’s Glass Studio (hyperlink to Glass Studio Page

Plastic

About 14% of the waste or materials stream in the BVI consists of plastic. Plastic waste makes up the highest percentage of litter in the BVI, it blocks drains thereby increasing the risk of flooding, has negative health impacts on humans and the environment.  Currently legislation is being drafted to ban certain plastics in the BVI. The remaining plastics are either exported for recycling or upcycled on-island to make polywood. 

Aluminium

About 2%  of the waste or materials stream in the BVI consists of aluminium cans. Most of these are beverage cans but can also be food cans. On island applications for this material are being researched, but for now, cans are baled for export to countries that have the industrial processes to smelt and make new aluminum cans. The recycling of aluminum cans (excluding transportation) is a 90% energy savings over mining and extracting virgin ore. 

Organics

Approximately 40- 50% of the waste or materials stream is compostable - food waste, yard waste including branches and stumps, cardboard & paper. All the above can be composted or mulched and transformed into “black gold”. With the right systems in place, we can halve what currently goes to the incinerator or dumpsites and create a useful local commodity. Why import mulch, fertilizer (liquid and solid) and compost when we can make our own? Begin your own composting at home - it is easy! Link to 

Used Vegetable Oil

Every year, restaurants in the BVI throw out thousands of gallons of Used Vegetable Oil (UVO) that are simply burned in an oil burner at Pockwood Pond or sent to the dumpsites. UVO can clog up sewer lines and drains as it cools and solidifies causing blockages and sewage overflows. In the BVI most structures have lines embedded in concrete, thus cleaning, repairing and replacing lines can have major additional costs.  Green VI will use UVO as an "urban crop" to fuel our glass studio and our WE RECYCLE truck. 

Scrap Metal

Salt air can take its toll on large appliances and cars. Scrap metal recyclers and the Department of Waste Management help collect, reuse, and export steel and other metals. This was especially important after the hurricanes, as flooded houses and derelict vehicles can serve as mosquito breeding grounds.


IMPACT

  • 24 Recycling Stations

  • 40.7 tons exported for recycling (including hurricane debris metals)

  • 700 cubic yards stockpiled

  • 61 US Tons of Recyclables Processed/ Exported for recycling

  • 17.6  Metric Tons of Glass & Plastic Upcycled For Local Use

  • 3 upcycling businesses supported

 

 

 

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