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Story Highlights

  • More than $200 million will be spent over the next three years on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle recycling project called ‘Recycle Now Jamaica’.
  • Recycle Now Jamaica will become one of the major initiatives of the JEEP Secretariat, leading to the creation of a minimum 300 jobs.
  • There are strong economic benefits, which can be derived from the initiative as there is a growing demand for PET bottles worldwide.

More than $200 million will be spent over the next three years on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle recycling project called ‘Recycle Now Jamaica’, which is expected to create jobs for hundreds of Jamaicans.

A new national initiative, it is being undertaken through a public-private partnership, with the Government, through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), pumping $50 million per year into the project, while the private sector will contribute $23.75 million annually over the three years.

Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, in his address at the launch on Wednesday, February 12, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, said that Recycle Now Jamaica will become one of the major initiatives of the JEEP Secretariat, leading to the creation of a minimum 300 jobs, while generating valuable foreign exchange for the country.

He noted that there are strong economic benefits, which can be derived from the initiative as there is a growing demand for PET bottles worldwide.

Dr. Davies informed that in addition to the $50 million expenditure per year, the Government will provide the property for four satellite depots in strategic locations across the island to facilitate PET collection.

Certified JEEP collectors will take the reclaimed PET waste to these depots where they will be paid on a weight basis.

The Minister further informed that the private sector partners will be responsible for the construction of a facility known as the Consolidation and Logistics Hub, which will be used to consolidate and super compact the used PET bottles. The centre will house the baling line, a storage facility for finished products as  well as office space.

“We expect the depots will receive just under a million bottles per day. This is the amount needed to meet the target of 15 per cent of the total waste in the first year,” the Minister said.

He pointed out that the project has a tremendous environmental impact as it will be ridding landfills, drains and beaches of the used PET bottles, which are non-biodegradable.

The Minister added that a major public education and national awareness campaign will be part of the project with special emphasis on reaching schools.

The primary objective of Recycle Now Jamaica is to reclaim 35 per cent of PET bottles placed on the market over the first three years of operation. The organization will be managed by a Board of Directors made up of Government and private sector representatives.

Also addressing the event launch were the Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill; Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott; Chairman of Wisynco Group, William Mahfood; and Caribbean Vice President, CBC (bottlers of Pepsi-Cola in Jamaica and Caribbean and Latin American Countries), Jose Sanabria.

Among the private partners in the initiative are: the Wisynco Group, Pepsi- Cola Jamaica, GraceKennedy Foods and Services, Jamaica Beverages, Lasco, Trade Winds Citrus, and Seprod.