Today’s Green Antilles interview is with Simera Crawford. Simera is the executive founder of the Caribbean Environmental Management Bureau, and the mastermind behind BitEgreen, an enterprise that aims to transform waste management in Barbados by using gamification as an incentive to recycling.
Please explain to Green Antilles readers what BitEgreen is and how it works.
BitEgreen is an innovative environmental initiative which uses technology to turn trash into cash for all locals, visitors and organizations. BitEgreen makes it easy for businesses to purchase, market, launch and sell more products and services using recycling as a catalyst. We’ve created a system which uses gamification (i.e. the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts) and an integrated online marketplace that makes it possible to assign a monetary value to recycled material for use in purchasing products and services. Our solution to the waste management challenge is to incentivize wider participation in recycling, tackle issues of sorting garbage at the source, and develop a reliable collection and disposal network for recyclables. The system naturally integrates into existing recycling programmes while helping to educate users and address cultural change to engender desired behaviours.
What motivated you to start this project?
The negative effects of waste management on the terrestrial and marine environment, and by extension our health, economy and tourism product, concern me deeply. Nature is so beautiful and refreshing to me, that irreversible destruction of this resource by humans due to bad habits and a lack of understanding is totally unacceptable! So I decided to do something about it as innately I love ingenuity and solving problems, and generally have a creative mindset. Furthermore, I am driven to preserve the environment due to a heightened awareness of related benefits to all, since I hold a Master of Science in Natural Resource and Environmental Management, where I specialised in Coastal and Marine Resource Management, and conducted research on the use of key performance indicators toward sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.
What are your vision and goals for the BitEgreen initiative?
Our vision is to facilitate the 100% capture and distribution of recyclable material, working with companies and individuals each playing a part in a manner that incentivizes all.
When can we hope to see BitEgreen launched and in operation?
We will be fully launched at the end of this year.
How can people get more information about BitEgreen?
They can visit Cembi.org, or follow @CembiOrg on social media for periodic updates on the launch, including links to BitEgreen’s website and social media pages when available. They may also email firstname.lastname@example.org to request information or sign up via the CEMBI Facebook page facebook.com/CembiOrg or on the website listed above. And they can take a look at our BitEgreen brochure.
[Interview responses have been edited lightly for clarity/readability. Images and brochure courtesy of Simera Crawford.]