4 more weeks to go for plastic recycling drive


4 more weeks to go for plastic recycling drive

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

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The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is piloting a sustainable plastic waste disposal initiative in the Corporate Area that is slated to end this month.

In a recent release, NEPA said residents in Kingston and St Andrew, since October 1, have had an additional option for the sustainable disposal of their plastic waste with the establishment of a drop-off point at Lee's Food Fair Supermarket on Red Hills Road in St Andrew.

The eight-week pilot is part of NEPA's Plastic Waste Minimization Project. The project is financed by the Government of Jamaica and the Japanese Government through UN Environment's International Environmental Technology Centre, and is focused on strengthening the island's capacity to implement integrated waste management activities and reduce and manage plastic marine litter, the release said.

In addition to Lee's Food Fair, Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ) and Magna Rewards have partnered with the State-run environmental agency for the implementation of the project.

More than 1,200 pounds of plastic had been collected at the location up to last week Wednesday.

Anthony McKenzie, director of environmental management and conservation at NEPA, said the Plastic Recycling Eco-Rewards Pilot forms part of NEPA's mandate to educate the public about environmental matters and influence positive behaviour change.

“We are very pleased about this pilot programme,” McKenzie said, adding that, currently, the collection centre only facilitates the drop-off of polyethylene (PET/PETE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics.

Both plastics are clearly identifiable by the recycling symbol circling the numbers one and two, respectively, usually at the bottom of the container.

The release said, too, that Lee's Food Fair has been making significant strides with establishing its environmental stewardship programme under NEPA's Green Business Jamaica pilot initiative, and has expressed that the latest partnership is an extension of their efforts to go green.

As part of the programme, individuals are issued with a 'goods received note' from RPJ, for each deposit. RPJ is managing the collection of plastics at the site during the pilot.

According to RPJ General Manager Nalini Sooklal, the organisation collects a significant amount of plastic at its numerous locations throughout Kingston and St Andrew.

“While we may not be at the point where domestic collection can be facilitated, we believe that building a network of collection centres and drop-off points across the country is an important first step in creating a plastic recycling culture in Jamaica.”

RPJ has 180 sites islandwide, including schools, that facilitate the collection of HDPE and PET plastics.

According to NEPA, in addition to the moral benefit of contributing to the protection of the environment, people who drop off 10 pounds or more of plastics during the pilot phase at the Lee's Food Fair location are rewarded with 250 Eco points valued at $500, thanks to Magna Rewards.

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