By Carlena Knight
More than 3,000 plastic bottles have been collected thus far in the ‘cash for plastic bottles’ initiative.
The Plastic Free Waste Islands Project got underway on Wednesday and, according to those involved, the turnout for the first few days has been encouraging.
“Thus far we have collected about 3,500 bottles total. From my perspective I think the response has been positive,” Hassani Williamson, one of the collection officers, told Observer.
“I have observed individuals in town collecting bottles. I actually went to the yard of a friend of mine’s home and the person was actually tying bottles together to be delivered to Epicurean at some time during the course of next week.
“So, already people are getting involved. A lot of people have been calling to inquire and I think our first few days I would consider it to be a good response. Based on that I am expecting to see more support and more bottles being delivered in the communities,” Williamson explained.
It is because of this positive response that Williamson is confident that they will reach their target goal of collecting 40 tons of bottles.
“Oh definitely, definitely, I was hopeful of that before the programme started and now, with what I have experienced in terms of what is the response, I am confident that we will,” he added.
The project is a partnership between the government, Will’s Recycling in Hatton, and Antigua and Barbuda Waste Recycling Corporation (ABWREC).
It was launched by the International Union for Conservation of Nature with support from the Norwegian government. The three-year venture is taking place in six islands in the Caribbean and Pacific.
There are initially three local drop-off locations—the Epicurean supermarket in St John’s, Ebenezer Plaza at South Mall, and Crab Hole Liquors in Cobbs Cross. Water and soda bottles with the PET (1) code can be traded for 20 cents per bottle.
They will be processed at ABWREC and exported to a recycling plant in Mexico. They will then be processed by a food-grade recycling plant, which converts the old bottles back into raw material to be used for new bottles.
To be accepted, bottles must be clean, undamaged, empty and transparent, with no caps.
The drop-off locations are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.
Four additional locations are set to be added in the near future across Antigua, and there are also plans to move the venture to the sister isle as well.