- The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has officially launched a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle recycling project in the community of Riverton Meadows.
- The project is expected to provide employment for hundreds of Jamaicans.
- Under the programme, PET bottles are collected, compacted and exported overseas.
The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has officially launched a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle recycling project in the community of Riverton Meadows, in Western St. Andrew, which is expected to provide employment for hundreds of Jamaicans.
Housed at the Jamaica Recycling Cooperative Plant in Riverton City, along Spanish Town Road, the programme has already seen the employment of 12 full-time workers and 50 part-time PET bottle suppliers.
Under the programme, PET bottles are collected, compacted and exported overseas. PET bottles are widely used to store soft drinks, food products, alcoholic beverages, detergents, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and edible oils.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, said the project not only aims to provide employment and a stable income for many Jamaicans, but also to increase public awareness about the importance of recycling and protecting the natural environment.
He was speaking at the official launch of the programme in the Riverton community on Tuesday, December 30.
Mr. Arscott further encouraged Jamaicans to pay more attention to their surroundings and to work together to keep their communities free of litter.
“We are looking at more stringent measures in terms of the littering in the streets. We are going to have to increase the fines, because many times people discard bottles and other things wilfully,” he said.
The project is being led by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, in collaboration with Canadian company, Turtle Island; Small Business Association of Jamaica; Jamaica Business Development Corporation; Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; the Social Development Commission and Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED).
Mr. Arscott informed that so far, Turtle Island has contributed $12 million to the project, while CARILED has provided funding support of $8.5 million.
“This project would not have advanced without the access to capital provided by Turtle Island and CARILED,” he noted.
For his part, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce and Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Anthony Hylton, said the programme is a significant start towards the development of the community of Riverton into a thriving recycling centre.
“In the development plans that we have for Riverton and the division of Seaview Gardens, we had long recognised the tremendous possibility for Riverton as a recycling centre,” he added.
Mr. Hylton said it has long been recognised that the recycling business is big business, as it has completely eliminated the idea of waste, noting that almost anything can be recycled and reused.
Mayor of Kingston, Senator Angela Brown Burke, said the project is geared at transforming the lives of members of the Riverton community through gainful employment and local economic development.
She said for the project to be successful, it must be driven by the efforts of community members. “And so, what we stand ready to do is to see how we can help the individuals involved to broaden their market,” she added.
Mrs. Brown Burke said the aim is to expand outside the community of Riverton Meadows and to encourage individuals across the island to become a part of the project.
She noted that persons can contribute to the project by providing plastic bottles for recycling. It is estimated that suppliers can earn about $8,000 to $10,000 a week.
Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Robert Ready, said the Canadian Government is pleased to be a part of such a worthwhile project.
“This will result in increased employment and better quality of life in the targeted communities. At the same time, this project will eliminate unsightly plastic garbage from the local environment,” he noted.
Mr. Ready said the programme will also gain from the expertise of Canadian recycling partner, Turtle Island. The company is providing technical assistance to the project and is also a buyer for Riverton recycling.