Burch backs mandatory recycling
Mandatory trash recycling could be on the cards, the Minister for Public Works has signalled.
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said: “I am increasingly leaning towards seeking approval for mandatory recycling as those who do recycle appear to have no regard for the schedule and simply place their recyclables out for collection whenever the bag is full.
“That schedule has not changed — every other Thursday in the west and every other Friday in the east.
“We have the capacity to more than double the amount of recyclables currently being processed at the recycling plant — those internal discussions are ongoing as we seek different ways to manage our waste.”
Colonel Burch’s views were backed by environmental groups including Greenrock, Keep Bermuda Beautiful and the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce.
Jonathan Starling, executive director at Greenrock, said: “Mandatory recycling is in place in many other countries, including countries like Canada and the UK and it works there,
“Importantly, having mandatory recycling would make both the incinerator and the recycling plant much more efficient, leading to a better use of these facilities.
“It would also greatly improve the efficiencies of regular trash collection, saving the public money over the long term, through reduced damage to trucks and injury to workers.”
Mr Starling said mandatory recycling would also lead to increased amounts of tin and aluminium being collected.
He explained the recovered metals could be sold overseas on the commodity market.
He added: “This would help to potentially subsidise the cost of waste management generally and indirectly reduce the cost of importing goods through providing greater export potential on cargo ships which would otherwise leave Bermuda empty.
“We support this idea and would be happy to help the ministry develop this concept from idea to execution.”
Anne Hyde, KBB executive director, said: “If the Government were to make recycling mandatory for residential households we would support that initiative.
“Additionally, it would be beneficial for Bermuda to encourage tin, alcohol and glass recycling for all commercial businesses as well, particularly bars, restaurants and hotels who might have high volumes of glass and metal that is recyclable.”
Kim Smith, executive director of BEST, said compulsory recycling could help to change the public’s habits.
She said: “A couple of benefits of a recycling programme is to help us make better use of resources by reducing and reusing our waste. I think most people would agree in the value of that.
“Changing our behaviour to reflect that value, however, is often the downfall of any worthy programme and so making participation mandatory is one way to attempt to force a change in behaviour.”
She said enforcement of such a policy might prove to be a challenge.
Ms Smith added: “Perhaps when we learn, or realise, that resisting efforts like recycling are not in our best interest, we will come to voluntarily do what is needed to avoid squandering nature’s finite resources.
“After all, humans are not separate from the environment. It’s where we live. Make a mess of it and we can only blame ourselves.”
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