Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has welcomed the official opening of a recycling plant in her South Western St. Andrew constituency, which she says, will bring gainful employment to the area while helping to keep the environment clean.
“This environmental project… has the potential to create about 100 jobs. The owners and managers will be employing people from surrounding communities to collect waste bottles to sell these to the plant,” said Mrs. Simpson Miller, as she addressed the official opening of the facility Wednesday (January 16) at its 164 Spanish Town Road location.
The plant is being opened by Jamaica Recycles, a start-up company backed by American investors Harold Kirsten and Dennis Soriano, who have over 60 years of combined experience in the recycling industry. The two have been operating businesses successfully throughout North America under the parent company International Recycling and Reclamation Ltd.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said the concept of transforming waste into productive activity is one that she fully endorses. Noting that Jamaica generates large volumes of solid waste product every day in homes and work places, she said the “company will provide the facilities to help us tackle a serious environmental problem”.
“I note with special interest the company’s projection of diverting 20,000 metric tons of recyclable material from the Riverton Landfill and the reclaiming of 100,000 metric tons of recyclables annually. This would definitely be a significant contribution to the care and protection of the environment,” the Prime Minister said.
She further informed that she has issued instructions to the Ministers of Energy and Local Government, to work together to ensure that the Riverton City dump can be transformed so that it can provide valuable raw material for the supply of electricity.
In the meantime, Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, called the initiative a welcomed and timely response to the nation’s need to expand its recycling efforts.
He commended Jamaica Recycles for its commitment and investment in Jamaica at this time and urged the company to work closely with the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
“I am also calling on all Jamaicans to do their part to promote environmental stewardship and responsibility, respect for our eco-system, corporate responsibility and pride in our communities,” said Minister Arscott.
Also endorsing the initiative was Mayor of Kingston, Senator Angela Brown Burke, who stated that any opportunity that provides an avenue for persons in Kingston to find a legal way to earn is something that is of interest to her.
“It is always good when you can do the right thing and it can be economically beneficial, (and) in this case it will also be environmentally advantageous for all of us,” Mayor Brown Burke said.
President of Jamaica Recycles, Dennis Soriano, said he was encouraged by the warm reception that he has received in Jamaica. He explained that the business will recover recyclable materials in the Kingston Metropolitan area before expanding into the rest of the island.
Jamaica Recycles’ initial concentration will be on waste paper and plastic with the intent to expand its scope of services to include other recyclable material such as electronic scrap, industrial plastic, glass and metals.
Jamaica Recycles estimates that approximately 2,500 to 3,000 metric tons per month processed in the Kingston area and more than twice that amount is available for diversion from the Riverton Landfill.
The company will establish a network of recycling drop off centres, recycling transfer stations and processing facilities. Ultimately, the company hopes to recover over 100,000 metric tons of recyclables annually, consisting of a wide range of materials.