Business

Jamaican firms team up to form Recycle Now Jamaica

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT

Friday, February 14, 2014    

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SEVEN local private companies have teamed up to pump $23.75 million, over three years, into a new national recycling initiative, Recycle Now Jamaica -- a public/private partnership with the Government.

The Government will invest $50 million each year from cash taken from collection from the environmental levy, making the total investment for the initiative over three years, $200 million.

Recycling Partners of Jamaica, a non-profit organsiation formed under the initiative, will employ at least 300 workers under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP). The company will be self-sufficient from the sale of baled plastic that is to be exported to China and the US.

Recycle Now Jamaica aims to recover 15 per cent of the island's recyclable plastic bottles within a year.

By year three of its operations, it projects to reclaimed 35 per cent of PET (clear plastic) bottles, which amounts to about a third of the recyclables on the island.

Still, about two-thirds of the bottles will be left for private players to make money from.

"It is useful to present some statistics to indicate that there will be no crowding out of the existing operators," said Omar Davies, minister of transport, works and housing at the launch on Wednesday at the Knutsford Court Hotel.

Wisynco chairman, William Mahfood, said that his company, along with other manufacturers such as Pepsi- Cola Jamaica, GraceKennedy Foods and Services, Jamaica Beverages, Lasco, Trade Wind Citrus, and Seprod, partnered with the Government to develop and support a long-term solution to plastic waste in Jamaica. And by the end of May more companies are expected to come on board.

"We believe that it is in the nation's best interest to volunteer our financial support to an initiative that has the potenial to make a difference in the environment and to the earning potential of those in the society that need it most," said Mahfood.

Funds from the partnership will be used to establish satellite depots in strategic locations across the island on property provided by the Government to facilitate collection by JEEP participants. At the depots, collectors will be paid for the PET waste, and the clear plastic bottles will be

baled and taken

to a consolidation and logistics hub in Kingston and exported.

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