Recycling: It’s easier than you think in Bermuda
Scuba tanks, laptops and forklift batteries. What do these items have in common? While all of these items may be found for sale on local classified websites, they are also a selection of goods that can be processed in Bermuda at our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).
Bermuda's recycling facilities are more substantial than many us would expect and the recent eWaste recycling day serves as a good reminder of this.
This newspaper recently reported that last year we shipped 84 container loads of various used consumer goods to recycling facilities in the US. These facilities have the capacity to properly dispose of our manufactured leftovers.
When considering many of our out-bound cargo ships leave nearly empty, this is a win-win scenario.
Importantly, Bermuda's economy benefits from our recycling programme too.
Tin and aluminium are collected, processed (compacted), and ultimately sold in the US. An employee of the Waste Management Section of the Ministry of Public Works plays the role of commodities trader and monitors the price of these metals, selling only when the demand/offering price is high.
Parts of many goods that you may not think of as recyclables are also recyled.
E-waste is also a valuable source of metals – some studies have found that the concentration of gold or lead in computers and old TV sets is higher than in ore that is produced in mines.
So recycling our old e-waste not only keeps dangerous chemicals out of the incinerator (and the air) but also provides raw materials for new electronic circuits, car parts, computers and more.
Not all of our recyclable goods are exported. Impressively, Bermuda's Material Recovery Facility, built at the old Government Quarry, coordinates the collection and processing of 50 container loads of crushed glass each year.
Almost all of this is reused by the Island's construction industry as a concrete additive, but it can also be used for drainage in gardens or as part of the aggregate for roads.
This saves us money because we don't have to import as much sand or building materials.
Used clothing shops, and more recently, online classified and freecycle websites are another common and useful way the Island recycles or, more specifically, reuses, goods.
Businesses also encourage recycling, with some grocers providing shoppers with blue plastic bags at the checkout that can be used to package up our recyclables for collection. They also often have containers for old batteries so that these can be safely disposed of.
According to Vanese Flood Gordon, one of the education officers for the Ministry of Public Works, only one in three households recycles tin, aluminium and glass by setting it out for collection.
Greenrock respectfully encourages all of Bermuda's residents and businesses to take part – its better for Bermuda.
Raise your glass (or tin can) to recycling in Bermuda – it works!