Photo: Courtesy of envatoelements
On Saturday, January 16, 2021, 60 residents from Gros Islet and its environs delivered 974 pounds of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (High-density polyethylene) plastic waste to the first of three RePLAST Collection Points (RCP) to go into operation (pressroom.oesc.org).
The Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority chairs the Steering Committee for the RePLAST-OECS Project. The Authority's Deputy General Manager, Laurianus Lesfloris, describes the public response for the first day as impressive, which he says bodes well for the diversion of plastic waste from the landfill (pressroomoesc.org). "I am quite pleased to see the response here this morning. So far, the process has been going very smoothly. If you could prevent waste from ending up in the environment, particularly plastics, then that's a benefit to Saint Lucia. This is not only an economic benefit but an environmental benefit" (pressroomoesc.org).
Launched in May 2019, the RePLAST‒OECS Pilot Plastic Recycling Project is a two-year public-private initiative. UNITE Caribbean is responsible for its implementation, and the project is aimed at setting-up an incentivized plastic waste collection and recycling scheme. Following a circular economy model, all plastic collected is exported to a recycling plant in the Caribbean. Saint Lucia, the first pilot country, is doing quite well with the plastic recycling program. Soon, other OECS countries will follow.
The successful collection of plastics increases the life of the landfill. To save the environment and save room in the landfill, the RePLAST‒OECS Project has facilitated an experimental shipment working with local recyclers. This included two 40-foot containers of baled PET bottles of approximately 26,000 pounds (lbs).
This exported plastic waste would normally be disposed of, but now it is being dispersed into the recycling chain to be used again.