The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has collected 1,211 pounds of plastic waste, to date, under its Plastic Recycling Eco-Reward Pilot Programme, which got under way on October 1.
The eight-week pilot, aimed at promoting the sustainable disposal of plastic waste in the Corporate Area, involves partnership with Lee’s Food Fair Supermarket, Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ) and Magna Rewards.
It is being financed by the Government of Jamaica and the Japanese Government through the United Nations (UN) International Environmental Technology Centre.
“The objective is to strengthen the island’s capacity to implement integrated waste management activities and reduce and manage plastic marine litter,” Director of Environmental Management and Conservation at NEPA, Anthony McKenzie, told JIS News.
He said that the project provides residents in Kingston and St. Andrew with an additional option for the sustainable disposal of their plastic waste with the establishment of a new drop-off point at Lee’s Food Fair Supermarket on Red Hills Road.
“We are very pleased about this pilot programme, which provides shoppers with another sustainable option for disposing of their plastics,” Mr. McKenzie said.
He noted that the initiative, being spearheaded under NEPA’s Plastic Waste Minimisation Project (PWMP), forms part of the entity’s mandate to educate the public about environmental matters and influence positive behaviour change.
In addition to the moral benefit of contributing to the protection of the environment, persons who drop off 10 pounds or more of plastics at the Lee’s Food Fair location are rewarded with 250 Eco/Magna points valued at $500. This financial incentive has been made possible through Magna Rewards.
Mr. McKenzie noted that, currently, the collection centre only facilitates the drop-off of polyethylene (PET/PETE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics, which are identifiable by the recycling symbol circling the numbers 1 and 2, respectively, usually affixed at the bottom of the containers.
Director at Lee’s Food Fair, Patrick Lee, shared that the supermarket chain has been making significant strides in establishing its environmental stewardship programme under NEPA’s Green Business Jamaica initiative.
“This partnership is an extension of our efforts to go green. We take pride in ventures like these because it allows us to exercise our corporate social responsibility, but, more importantly, causes us to take the protection of the environment even more seriously,” Mr Lee told JIS News.
He reported that the feedback from shoppers has been extremely positive, noting that the plastic drop-off point is a convenient location for customers.
As part of the programme, individuals will be issued with a ‘goods received note’ from RPJ for each deposit. RPJ is managing the collection of plastics at the site during the pilot.
RPJ’s General Manager, Nalini Sooklal, said that the entity collects a significant amount of plastics at its 180 sites islandwide, including schools.
“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.” Ms. Sookal said.
Persons seeking further information on where to recycle PET and HDPE plastics can visit the RPJ’s social media pages, @recycleja.
The pilot programme ends on November 30.