Starting July 5, residents of Antigua and Barbuda will realise benefits from an incentive involving recyclable bottles which is being rolled out by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.
In phase one of the Plastic Free Waste Islands Project, residents will be able to exchange clean soda and water bottles with PET code (1) for 20 cents per bottle.
The transactions can be completed at three different locations, namely Epicurean Fine Foods & Pharmacy on Epicurean Drive, Ebenezer Plaza South Mall, and Crab Hole Liquors in Cobbs Cross.
Bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET, sometimes PETE) can be recycled and used to manufacture new bottles and containers. In many countries, PET plastics are coded with the resin identification code number “1” inside the universal recycling symbol, usually located on the bottom of the container.
Antigua and Barbuda was selected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (IUCN-ORMACC), with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and private entity Searious Business to participate in the project.
Environment Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph is urging persons to get on board so that the venture can be a success.
“Plastic pollution is having a colossal impact on our ecosystems, economies and in our ocean. The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, on behalf of the government, welcomes this initiative, which is clearly a demonstration of our commitment to make Antigua and Barbuda a plastic-free environment.
“This is obviously a follow-up to our success in ridding our environment of single-use plastics and we recognise the cooperation of members in the business community, especially importers and we look forward to their continued collaboration and support.
“This time, however, we will need the cooperation of the public at large for this to be a success,” Joseph said.
Residents are asked to ensure that they return soda and water bottles that are clean with no caps, and that are transparent, undamaged and empty.
All soda and water bottles returned will be processed at ABWREC and exported to a recycling plant in Mexico. They will then be processed by the food-grade recycling plant run by ALPLA, resulting in converting the old bottles to raw material to be used for new bottles.
Plastic bottles made from PET are perfect for recycling and utilise less energy than new plastics, aiding in sustainable energy efficiency.
Participants can turn in their bottles at any of the three locations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, from 9am to 3pm daily.
Four additional locations will be added across Antigua in the near future, and plans are also in the pipeline to move the venture to Barbuda.