Greening the Caribbean: award-winning Saint Lucian waste management company
- By : Thérèse Yarde
- Category : Solid waste
- Tags: saint lucia
From the Saint Lucia Star, a profile of Greening the Caribbean, a Saint Lucian waste management company that has won international awards for sustainable entrepreneurship:
It’s not easy convincing companies to care about their waste but Saint Lucian entrepreneur Wayne Neale is doing just that. Managing Director of waste management and recycling firm Greening the Caribbean, Neale is helping the private sector set an example by introducing environmentally friendly practices that are good for the earth, and companies’ bottom line.
Greening the Caribbean (GtC) began operations in 2014, handpicking select clients to see where it could make the biggest impression. “I look at particular types of clients and waste streams that can have the greatest environmental impact,” says Neale. “We then offer them a competitive alternative to their current waste management system. It’s cost effective, we provide a high level of service and they get brand value by being more environmentally responsible. It requires a higher level of accountability from them, but clients see, feel and appreciate the difference.”
GtC’s services include consultancy, collection and recycling. The company instructs businesses on how to divert their waste into the categories of garbage, trash and waste —determining what should go to landfill and what can be re-directed for processing at GtC’s resource recovery centre in Castries. The distinction is important, according to Neale, who says getting the language right is key. “The general perception of waste in the Caribbean is very archaic. Anything that a business is finished with, they generally consider garbage. There’s no clear understanding of the difference between garbage, trash and waste. Most people perceive it as one thing—garbage—but trash is just something you have finished with and waste is something you dispose of that can be repurposed.
“When we approach a business we have to introduce that concept to them. There is that training component.”
GtC recycles bottles, cans, cardboard and e-waste. Neale defines the latter as “any item that uses electricity and/or contains a circuit board” and says this makes up the bulk of GtC’s recovered materials. All materials are sorted and processed at the company’s site and most is then exported, usually to markets in Asia.
Neale’s priority is getting recyclable materials out of landfill and off the island. He says there is a waste crisis happening in the region and wants to play his part. “There is a lack of strong environmental law in the Caribbean. Governments have not put a waste management infrastructure in place, they only have a waste disposal infrastructure.”
Shifting mindsets will take time. In the meantime, a handful of Saint Lucia’s corporations are quietly leading the way. GtC’s current clients include Dive Saint Lucia, Rubis St Lucia, JE Bergasse, Rodney Bay Marina and Buckeye Partners LP. Neale says: “Our clients, through their visionary and pragmatic leadership, are demonstrating that the private sector can move beyond compliance with outdated national laws to championing environmental action.”
Read more in the full article from the Saint Lucia Star, as well as in this older report at Saint Lucia News Online. You can get more information at the Greening the Caribbean website and Facebook page.
[Image: via the Saint Lucia Star]