Island Green Living Association is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that has been a trailblazer in initiating meaningful change on St. John and throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands since its inception in 2004. The organization is dedicated to expanding sustainability and resiliency while inspiring people to “Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Sustainability is among the most important global issues of our time and the Caribbean’s fragile eco-systems, reliance on outside sources for many goods & services, waste management issues and dependence on tourism make our islands especially vulnerable to environmental damage, economic devastation and the health/wellness issues that come with it.
Island Green’s work has focused on turning what many would consider “waste” into a resource. Efforts have earned many accolades including “Sustainable Company of the Year” by Clinton Global Initiative and Island Innovation in 2022, a CGI “Commitment to Action” designation by the Clinton Foundation in 2020, and an EPA Environmental Champion Award in 2017. Island Green Living proactively seeks out collaborations with private and public entities in order to combine resources and dovetail efforts.
As of June 2022, the ocean-bound plastics recycling program has crushed 3,700 lbs. of plastics since the program launched in February 2022. Likewise the Organization’s aluminum program has recycled nearly 1.5 million cans; the brush chipping program has processed 4,500 cubic yards of green & brown debris; and ReSource Depot thrift shop has kept nearly 700,000 lbs. of material from the overburdened landfill.
Island Green Living’s advocacy campaigns have successfully banned toxic sunscreen, plastic bags and straws as well as the burning of vegetative debris in the territory. In fact, the “Ban the Burn” campaign has been credited with contributing to the territory’s excellent air quality, among only three places in the world meeting the WHO’s clean air standards. The Board President serves on the territory’s Agricultural Plan Task Force, created by the legislature to support food security through expanding local food production, and the Comprehensive Energy Plan Steering Committee.
The folks at Island Green Living firmly believe that education is critical to furthering green initiatives. They initiated Green Building and Green Villa Certification programs and have embarked on campaigns to promote sustainable food security and eco-friendly building/deconstruction and discourage disposable plastic bags/straws & toxic sunscreen, which destroys our coral.
Below is a timeline of Island Green milestones:
Island Green Building Association founded. Promote green building & sustainable development. Educate public on pollution to oceans, etc. caused by construction.
Produced Guidelines of Sustainable Green Building Design and Construction
Established IGBA “Tropical Residential Green Building Certification Program
National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Community Service Award
Monthly“Green Thursdays” Island Sustainability Series –over 50 public seminars, environmental film showings and vegan potluck dinners. (These have been on hold since the destruction of its headquarters during Hurricanes Irma & Maria in Fall 2017 but will resume with the launch of the Sustainable Living Center)
Received EPA Environmental Quality Award for Region 2.
NOAA Grants -VI Green Construction Rewards Program I & II, Produced 3 PSA videos on environmentally friendly design, construction & living. Conducted Green Building & Site Design Training Seminars.
Opened ReSource Depot. Accept donations, usable construction & household materials. Sell items, very reasonable prices. Currently six 20’ containers of usable items, diverting 310,000+ lbs. of waste from landfill on St. Thomas.
IGBA’S 10 Anniversary, expanded the scope of work from building to living and rebranded as the ISLAND GREEN LIVING ASSOCIATION.
Began collection and recycling of Aluminum Beverage Cans in partnership with the St. John Community Foundation. Purchased aluminum can compactor to crush and bale used beverage cans for shipment to U.S. aluminum manufacturer. Initiated “Preserve St. John” campaign.
Established the GreenVilla Certification Program, to provide guidelines for environmentally responsible villa operations and use. St. John has more
than 1000 rental villas that have major impact on water, energy and waste production and use.
K-12 Sustainable Curriculum development with Department Of Education.
Worked with legislators on single-use Plastic Bag Ban legislation.
Began work with legislators on efforts to ban the importation and sale of sunscreen containing Oxybenzone, which is devastating to coral reefs and marine life.
Established the Green Restaurant Program to promote elimination of single use disposable plastic and to promote composting and glass and aluminum recycling.
Worked with legislators on Source Separation/Composting legislation.
Lead efforts to Ban the Burn of hurricane debris following Irma & Maria.
Worked with legislators on legislation to Ban Plastic Straws.
Introduce Solarize St. John campaign with a $75,000 donor grant.
Construction started on Phase I of the Sustainable Living Center, including facilities for recycling glass, plastic and used cooking oil. The facility will include solar energy, a co-op food market and community garden, and expanded ReSource Depot.
Sold first load of over 400,000 aluminum cans to recyclers in Puerto Rico
2020 – June 2022
Accomplishments during this period include the following:
• Launched the Ocean-Bound Plastics Recycling Program with PADNOS in collaboration with VI Waste Management Authority; began pick-ups of recyclable plastics & aluminum at trash collections sites around St. John
• Sponsored Aquaponics at Gifft Hill School and composting educational program
• Created Brush Chipping/Mulching/Composting Pilot Program
• Expanded ReSource Depot thrift shop: 700,000 lbs. of used building materials, household items, clothing, etc. saved from the landfill
• Grew Aluminum Can Recycling: 1,480,000 cans to date
• Support Food Security / Agricultural Plan Task Force member
• Comprehensive Energy Plan Steering Committee
• Sustainable Deconstruction Workshops through EPA Grant
• Caneel Bay Sustainable Redevelopment Advocacy
• Toxic Sunscreen Ban Advocacy
• Plastic Straw Ban / Plastic Bag Ban Advocacy
• Community Education on Sustainability
• Named “Sustainable Company of the Year” in 2022 by Clinton Global Initiative & Island Innovation
• Honored with a Clinton Global Initiative “Commitment to Action” by the Clinton Foundation in 2020