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Group Energy Manager of the Caribbean Cement Company Limited, Earl Barrett has expressed concern at the improper management of used tyres, which have presented a very visible disposal problem, resulting in the government having to spend a significant amount of money to collect, store and manage the waste.
Mr. Barrett cited the recent fire at the Riverton City Landfill in Kingston, which he noted was sustained for a long time due to the presence of used tyres. “The government could spend less money by properly incinerating these various waste streams in a suitable manner, which does not accumulate, does not pollute the environment and is not harmful to people’s health,” he said.
He was speaking at an efficiency awareness seminar, which was hosted by the Energy Unit of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) at its Trafalgar Road offices yesterday (October 10), in observance of Energy Conservation month.
On the recovery of energy from waste, Mr. Barrett said where there existed elements such as government policies to regulate the disposal of used tyres and promote environmentally sound management of used tyres, “the economics favoured the recovery of energy from waste”.
At Carib Cement, he informed, there was no technological barrier to recovering energy from waste, and that the company’s kilns could burn some two million tyres per year. However, he said there was a problem, which was the absence of an economic equation that favoured the recovery of energy from tyres over their disposal in municipal landfills.
“Diverting recoverable material from landfills is a highly worthy goal in both environmental and economic terms. The key to achieving that goal is to enact laws, adopt policies, promulgate regulations and create programmes that will overcome the economic inertia that keep valuable waste materials away from high value applications,” he said.
Where projects were concerned, he said the Cement Company was seeking to work with Government to develop a mutually beneficial partnership for the establishment of a national infrastructure for safe and sustainable disposal of selected streams of non-biodegradable waste products, such as used tyres, and used petroleum based oils.
Mr. Barrett said it was estimated that 800,000 tyres were imported annually, 30,000 plastics and 8.6 million litres of lubricating oil. He said that with an 85 per cent recovery rate for used tyres and 65 per cent for plastics and oils, these were significant parts of the “waste stream” that could be diverted from managed landfill, and other areas such as gullies and open spaces where improper disposal occurred.
The successful use of these waste streams as fuel, he noted, would require a strong partnership among the government of Jamaica, the National Solid Waste Management Authority, the Ministry of Local Government and Carib Cement Company; the enactment and enforcement of legislation related to littering and proper disposal of selected waste materials; and the implementation of a product deposit refund system, along with other economic instruments, as required.
Mr. Barrett said it would also require the setting up of a nationwide network of designated stations for the collection, preparation and associated transportation from the point of proper disposal by the end-user/consumer of the product to the cement plant at Rockfort; and the retrofitting of Carib Cement kilns to utilize waste derived from fuels, namely used tyres, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and used petroleum based oils.
The Energy Manager pointed out that the opportunity existed for using the cement kilns as a way of diverting recoverable material from land disposal towards a higher value application. He said the proposal “also presented the opportunity for direct community involvement in environmental improvement”. The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo) and Wigton Windfarm Limited also made presentations at the seminar.