Energy to be generated by burning plastic
The Government is to look at importing plastic waste for disposal at the Tynes Bay Incinerator.
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said he understood some people would “go berserk” at the suggestion.
He argued the burning of plastic at the plant could generate revenue as well as electricity.
Colonel Burch said: “I am often asked why we don’t recycle plastic and we are headed in a direction that is going to warrant significant explanation to the Bermudian public because they are going to go berserk when they get an idea of where we are headed.
“In Bermuda’s case, we actually generate a significant amount of revenue for the Government of Bermuda as a result of this facility and the power that is generated.
“For us, because we have an incinerator, plastic actually serves as a fuel and we are able to generate significant amounts of electricity mixing plastic with the other waste that we generate and burning it in the incinerator.”
He added: “Now I know people are going to say that it’s going into the atmosphere, but I can say we are the gold standard in terms of environmental protection and various other measures that we have undertaken in order to prevent that escaping into the atmosphere.
“We are exploring the idea to import plastic to burn in order to generate more electricity because people will know that China, who used to take the world’s waste, has decided they are not going to do that any more.”
Colonel Burch said the Government has entered into a contract with a New Jersey firm to export recyclables and asbestos from the island.
He added: “We are having some discussions with them about the potential for us generating some revenue if we take other people’s waste.”
Colonel Burch said his ministry had also made progress towards the determination of its approach to other forms of recycling.
He said: “I am still very much in favour of encouraging people to recycle, as opposed to making it mandatory. We are having some progress in that regard.
“I think the once-a-week trash collection has helped because you can reduce the amount of waste that you generate significantly if you take cans and bottles out of the equation.”
Jonathan Starling, executive director of environmental charity Greenrock, said he needed to know more details about the proposal before he made a judgment.
He added: “As it stands, using waste produced in Bermuda, including plastics, does indeed generate energy and allows Bermuda to avoid importing fossil fuel, which it would have to, otherwise, to produce the same amount of electricity for local consumption.”
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