From food waste to beverage containers to packaging, the food and beverage industry as well as most businesses in general produce a lot of waste! A simple step towards waste minimisation and recycling is not only good for the environment but also for your pocket. Many restaurants, bars and shopping centres spend thousands of dollars every month on waste disposal while recycling can save significant costs! For example, cardboard is an extremely bulky item that takes up a great deal of space in a waste disposal bin resulting in it needing to be cleared more regularly.
Do you know that approximately 700,000 tonnes of waste is generated in T&T every year? That is equivalent to approximately 50,000 garbage trucks. Based on our population, it is estimated that 0.54 tonnes of waste is generated per capita per year, amounting to 1.50 kilograms per person per day of which 83% is recyclable. Organics (food waste and yard clippings), plastics and paper/cardboard are the highest sources of waste generation in T&T. With our fast paced “on the go” lifestyle, there has been an increase in the disposal of single use plastics and other harmful materials, resulting in an increased solid waste generation. In a nutshell, waste management is a major environmental challenge and concern.
Recycling is important as it helps the environment by recovering valuable resources and turning them into new products. Recycling also saves space in T&T’s overburdened landfills and creates jobs. It also helps conserve natural resources such as water, oil, timber and minerals. Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials and it also results in less greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for 2 hours while recycling 1 ton of paper saves about 15 to 17 mature trees from being cut down; the benefits are endless.
In Trinidad there are a number of recycling entities that collect and sort materials for the purpose of recycling. Some of these include; Ace Recycling Limited (paper, cardboard, tetra paks and aluminium cans), Carib Glassworks (glass), the iCARE Project (beverage containers), Caribbean Battery Recycling Ltd (lead acid batteries) and Plastikeep (plastics).
Ace Recycling offers a free service for the collection of recyclable waste paper, cardboard, tetra paks and aluminium cans. In 2016, approximately 18,000,000 pounds of paper and cardboard were diverted from T&T’s landfills and baled for recycling. For 2017, Ace has already surpassed that figure. If you’re interested in recycling at your workplace please give us a call or send us an email and we would be happy to help you develop a recycling program. Ace Recycling also offers short educational presentations free of charge.
Here are a few tips for implementing a recycling system:
TIP #1: START SMALL – Start with one recyclable. Choose materials that are easily recycled and that your workplace produces a lot of, for example aluminium cans or cardboard. Over time expand the recycling to include other waste materials – tetra paks, paper, glass, plastics, organics etc.
TIP #2: HAVE A DESIGNATED PLACE TO RECYCLE – As you introduce recycling to your bar, restaurant or office, make sure the recycling area is very clearly set up and easy-to-access for the employees.
TIP #3: USE WELL LABELLED & COLOUR CODED BINS – Use separate coloured bins for each recycling option to ensure that the materials do not get contaminated. Make simple labels with guidelines and pictures of
what can be recycled.
TIP#4: INFORM AND EDUCATE EMPLOYEES – Recycling is easy to do, but for some it may take getting used to as old habits can be hard to break. That’s why it is important to ensure that employees are involved, informed and on board from the beginning. Provide education, motivation or even a friendly in-office competition to launch the recycling program.
START TODAY! Recycling will not only reduce the waste going to our dumps, but it will also save money and promote an environmentally friendly image for your business. Recycling is a very simple way that YOU can contribute to making T&T a better place!