My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How GOJ JA$200 million Recycle Now Jamaica Project to Recycle PETE Plastic Waste will power JEEP

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How GOJ JA$200 million Recycle Now Jamaica Project to Recycle PETE Plastic Waste will power JEEP

Diana McCaulay, CEO of Jamaica Environment Trust, “mus’ pleas like puss” right now with this latest development in her long fight to get the GOJ and Private Sector to Recycle Plastic, as per her picture below.

Government of Jamaica has decided to face the Man in the Mirror with regards to recycling Plastic Waste in Jamaica as reported by the Horses Mouth, the  Jamaica Information Service in “Government Launches $200M Bottle Recycling Project”, published February 13, 2014 By Andrea Braham, Jamaica Information Service and  “Support for Recycle Now Jamaica Project”, published February 17, 2014 by Rodger Hutchinson, Jamaica Information Service

Minister of Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr Omar Davies and Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Hon. Robert Pickersgill were on hand at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Wednesday February 17th 2014 to launch the Recycle Now Jamaica Project as stated in “Multimillion-dollar bottle recycling Project launched”, Published Thursday February 13, 2014 1:30 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.  

Wait, it gets better, as Diana McCaulay isn’t the only person “pleas’ like puss” as per her photographs above, as the Plastic Seven were apparently pleased too!

The Plastic Seven, the name I’ve decided to call them, have also decided to pitch in to support this initiative via an investment of some JA$23.75 million over the next three (3) years in the Recycle Now Jamaica Project as stated in “Jamaican firms team up to form Recycle Now Jamaica”, published Friday, February 14, 2014 BY SHAMILLE SCOTT, The Jamaica Observer and “JEEP, drink makers partner on Plastic recycling, export initiative - Recycle Now target Collections: One million bottles daily”, Published Friday February 14, 2014 by Richard Browne, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The GOJ, via the JEEP Secretariat, is slated to spend some JA$200 million over the next three (3), which works out to about JA$50 million per year. The Recycle Now Jamaica Project will see persons employed under JEEP as part of a Plastic Recycling initiative. In the Process, the Recycle Now Jamaica Project will create some 300 Jobs under JEEP, effectively giving the program what it need for some time: an Engine!

Granted, the program is a political feeding Tree for Party supporters. One gets the impression that Recycle Now Jamaica Project is very convenient, as it’s being introduced at a time to effectively justify what should have been done from JEEP’s inception. This is to ensure recovery of the JEEP Money and thus turn the fund into a revolving Loan Scheme where projects that money is spent on actually make money instead of taxpayers’ money being given to party supporters.

Still, if it does actually achieve its lofty aims, it’ll be worth it!

The Plastic Seven – Private Sector more Efficient at Collecting and Recycling their own Waste

And who are the Plastic Seven, you may ask? Here’s the Rogue’s Gallery of the major Plastic Polluters in Jamaica:

1.      GraceKennedy Foods and Services
2.      Jamaica Beverages
3.      Lasco
4.      Pepsi- Cola Jamaica
5.      Seprod
6.      Trade Wind Citrus
7.      Wisynco

The Recycle Now Jamaica Project aims are equally ambitions:

1.      25% of all PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Bottles Recycled in Jamaica by Year Two
2.      35% of all PETE Bottles Recycled in Jamaica by Year Three
3.      1,000,000 PETE Bottles Recycled each day

This was thanks to a US$5 billion loan from the Chinese to support the very controversial JEEP (Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme) Project via the JEEP Secretariat which was also repurposed to support this idea of Plastic Recycling as stated in “$5b from new China loan for JEEP”, published Monday, February 03, 2014 BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Quick pictorial primer on PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) in pictures. Here’s the chemical process of how it’s made in manufacturing:

And here’s the chemical Structure of the polymer that many use and take for granted.

Under the JEEP's Recycle Now Jamaica Project, Collection Centers on land provided via the JEEP Secretariat will be provided to establish four (4) very large Collection centers islandwide to achieve these ambitions aims of collecting effectively all of the PETE Plastic in Jamaica.

To ensure the efficient processing, sorting, washing and compacting of PETE Bottles, the Plastic Seven will be responsible for that phase of the project, as obviously since they made the Plastic, they'd know how to recycle it. All of them currently do this on a small scale so as to make their business efficient. Only this time, it's on a Government-size islandwide scale and budget in a sustainable manner with financial benefits to themselves and the Government.

Hopefully, it'll be a revenue turning initiative similar to the NSWMA's recycling of Organic Waste to make compost as explained in my blog article entitled “NSWMA can benefit from coming Lithium Demand from All-Electric Vehicle  - The Beverly Hillbillies go Electric”.

If it’s a money-making venture on the same magnitude as the NSWMA’s Compost Project, it will go a long way towards helping the PNP-led Administration blunt criticism that the Project is just another example of Pork-barrel Politics where money is being given to party supporters for their votes that helped the PNP to win the December 2011 General Elections.

Hopefully too, it’ll also get Jamaicans realizing that there’s more to recycle in Jamaica than just Scrap Metal, as Plastic abounds and manpower exists to sort Plastic and recycle it, earning money for many once done on a large scale.

Recycling PETE Plastic is just a Start – Digicel and LIME need to Recycle their Electronics Waste

Apparently, we had to do it ourselves as waiting on American and Canadian FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) wasn’t going to materialize anytime soon, seeing as they may not have seen any financial benefit from the venture as chronicled in my Geezam blog article How American and Canadian investors Plan to make money from the US$10 million Trade in Plastics and other Recyclables in Jamaica”!

Even the intended investment by Panther Corporation of Canada in Recycling Montego Bay’s Plastic Waste is yet to materialize since its first CEO and Founder Michael Mosgrove  ambitious plans came to light in July 2012 as reported in my blog article entitledPanther Corporation of Canada sets up solar Powered Recycling Center - Investing in The Apparition of Jamaica's Waste Management Problem”.

With that disappointment on the part of FDI’s aside, we’ve now started doing it for ourselves. To this end, we need also need to start placing pressure on Telecom Providers to implement Mandatory Recycling of Feature phones and other electronic gadgets that they sell.

This as many of the devices that they sell contains Heavy Metals and Rare Earth Minerals such as Mercury, Cadmium, Dysprosium and Arsenic in their Electronics and Batteries that are poisonous to humans.

These are the very same Rare Earth Metals that the JBI (Jamaica Bauxite Institute) in conjunction with Nippon Light Metal Company Limited are testing in a Pilot Plant to extract Rare Earth Metals from RDA (Residue Disposal Area) Red Mud as explained in my blog article entitled Rare Earth Metal Pilot Plant at Jamaica Bauxite Institute to test Rare Earth Extraction Process - Nippon Light Metal Company Limited keen to beat China using Red Mud from Bauxite Companies”.

Progress reports have been slow in coming as we wait for March 2014 to arrive to hear news of JBI’s Test Pilot Plant as reported in my blog article entitled No news on progress of the Rare Earth Pilot Plant at JBI - Cuba-Jamaica CFL Project Heralds manufacturing of LED's, Li-Ion Batteries and Sapphire Screens in Jamaica”.

On the flip side too, they may have a financial benefit to Telecom Provider, both in terms of resale value of the device to other territories via Factory Refurbishing these devices as well as via the Recycling of these Electronics Waste for their Heavy and Rare Earth Minerals to make other devices.

Telecom Provider Digicel had begun recycling Feature phones back in 2009 when they were competing with CLARO Jamaica as stated in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and Rare Earth Metals Recycling - Pass it on”. Hopefully when the new Telecom Regulator comes on Stream by July 2014, it’ll also be made mandatory that Telecom Providers practice Recycling on their Electronics Gadgets to reduce incidence of their Electronic Waste winding up in Landfills and potentially poisoning the Groundwater.

Recycling is already a part of Jamaica’s Culture. Small steps, though are required and despite the political overtones, this is a step in the Right Direction as The Wind Rises (2013).

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