St. John, USVI – May 31, 2022 – Through a collaboration between nonprofit Island Green Living and VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA), for the first time popular trash collection sites around the island now feature specially marked receptacles where the public can conveniently deposit their RINSED recyclable #1, 2 & 5 plastics and aluminum where they drop off other trash. (Please do not deposit regular trash into the recycle bins.) In addition to aluminum cans, these items include water & soda bottles, detergent & milk jugs, many food containers & jars, etc. Island Green Living has installed the recycle bins and commenced pickups with their dedicated truck. Partner PADNOS, a Michigan-based recycling company, supplied the bins, contributed to the truck and provided a self-contained bailer.
The VIWMA sites that feature Island Green Living recycle bins are as follows:
Cruz Bay: Main VIWMA site across from EC Gas Station & Alfredo’s Landscaping
Gifft Hill Road: VIWMA site just past Gifft Hill School
Coral Bay: Main VIWMA site across from Love City Mini Mart
The community can also continue to drop off their recyclable plastics and aluminum cans at Island Green Living’s ReSource Depot located behind VITEMA on Gifft Hill Road just off Centerline. Those in Cruz Bay will find a bin for recyclables conveniently located at Connections as well.
“We are grateful to WMA for their support and collaboration as well as to Conner Buttermore and David Baum of St. John Concrete for donating slabs to install our recycling containers,” said Harith Wickrema, president of Island Green Living. “This initiative would not be possible without generous donations from the community, the partnership of PADNOS and the dedication of our staff and volunteers.”
“Among the plethora of donors, Dr. George Rapier, president of RapierMed, LLC, became the single largest donor who made it possible to secure the $100K matching donation from the Island Green Living president,” said Akhil Deshwal, board secretary. “As an ongoing operation, Island Green Living will continue to welcome donations to keep plastic and aluminum away from the ocean and landfill. We are hoping cardboard and glass can be next. It takes a whole village, meaning a whole island, to preserve our environment.”
Island Green Living emphasizes that it is always best to avoid single-use plastics. Once they are part of the waste system however, the program ensures ocean-bound plastics are reclaimed and used in recycled products rather than polluting waterways and choking landfills. In this way the usefulness of the material can be extended and the mining for new resources curtailed.
“We are trying to make recycling as easy as possible for the community to maximize participation,” said Kelly McKinney, executive director of Island Green Living.
The community should lightly RINSE and sort plastic recyclables and aluminum cans from their other trash and bag plastic and aluminum together. Rinsed recyclables and caps, removed from bottles, should be placed in the bag. Most commonly used plastics have a resin code listed somewhere on the material, typically on the bottom. Island Green Living can accept #1, 2 and 5 plastics which include items such as water & soda bottles, some food containers, peanut butter jars, milk jugs, shampoo & detergent bottles, yogurt containers, etc. Styrofoam and items like plastic utensils, bags, etc. cannot be accepted.
Once collected, aluminum cans and ocean-bound recyclable plastics will be sorted and baled and then shipped to PADNOS, where these raw materials will gain a new lease on life. PADNOS has committed to purchasing and transporting (on deadheaded shipping containers, meaning containers that otherwise would have returned empty, when possible to limit the carbon footprint) all aluminum and plastics collected by Island Green Living. Island Green Living launched the groundbreaking Ocean-Bound Plastics Recycling Program, the first on the island, in February 2022. Since that time, approximately 3,700 lbs. have been collected.
The organization is also offering a paid pick-up service to local bars, restaurants and businesses. For more information, interested parties can contact Executive Director Kelly McKinney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As one of the architects of the territory’s bans on plastic bags, straws, and toxic sunscreen, working closely with the Governor and legislature on education and advocacy, Island Green Living is staunchly committed to eliminating plastic and other pollutants from the environment.
About Island Green Living
Established in 2004, Island Green Living Association is a registered 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization on St. John dedicated to sustainability throughout the USVI. www.islandgreenliving.org.