Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Recycling Finally Coming to Guyana

This message came from the Peace Corps admin, I presume copied from one of the Guyanese newspapers, the Stabroek News, Chronicle, or Keiateur. This would be a welcome addition to Guyana, which has a real problem with litter from plastic bottles. There are just heaps of them laying around everywhere, choking up gutters and blocking up waterways, which is one reason there was so much flooding there last year.

Plastic recycling factory to start up next month
By Nicosia Smith
Thursday, December 8th 2005

With plastics seen as a prime villain in major flooding this year there is hope on the horizon with a US$1.5M recycling factory to begin operating next month.

Horace Fordyce of Envirotec Recycling Enter-prise at Princes Street told Stabroek News in an interview on Tuesday that his company, a subsidiary of Trust Enterprises Canada Inc, plans to open the recycling plant in the compound of the incinerator after getting the necessary permission. Plastic waste, including the ubiquitous plastic bottles, will be processed for export. Eventually it is hoped to convert the plastic waste here into items such as crates.

The magnitude of the plastic waste problem was examined in a 2003 study done by Fordyce. According to Fordyce's study recycling can prevent bottles, plastic cups, plates, forks and spoons from entering the environment where they have posed major environmental and flooding headaches. According to the statistics, 7,811,214 pounds of legitimately recognized and tariffed plastic items entered Guyana in 2003.

In addition to illegally imported plastics, containers of petroleum by-products such as lubricants, degreasers, transmission fluids, brake fluids, window cleaners, pharmaceuticals and patent medicines, cosmetology and beauty enhancement products are imported and tariffed by content only.

"This is a serious oversight," Fordyce wrote in his findings, "as disposal of the containers are necessary."

To have this effectively and efficiently done a levy is required to defray its cost.

As the company begins operations it is hoped that the environmental levy placed on certain products will go to Envirotec to dispose of the waste generated. That levy on imported plastic containers goes into the Consolidated Fund.

Fordyce said he recently held discussions with Prime Minister Samuel Hinds about the plastic waste problem and the Prime Minister immediately initiated a scope- of-work collectively with the City Council to tackle the problem. Hinds also made the Princes Street location available and the City Council is unceasing in its efforts to ensure the January deadline is met.

Envirotec plans to set up more than 100 plastic waste depots and it is the agents of these depots who will collect the plastic. A price is yet to be determined for the various quantities of plastic.

Very shortly, a public education campaign will begin sensitising the public about the plastic waste problem. People will be urged to practise garbage separation and to deposit their plastic waste at the depots.

Optimum use of the plant machinery will depend on the steady supply of electricity. Fordyce said the cost of electricity "is really putting a stranglehold on business" but this would be vital to how many hours a day the plant works. Over US$1.5M is being spent to build the facility, inclusive of the machinery used.

Included in this cost as well is a plastic waste processing factory at Linden, located at a former bauxite mines machinery service workshop. Fordyce said, "some machinery is already here and operation can commence before the January 30 deadline."

This Linden site will cater for plastic items being taken into the interior locations and those generated on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway. A staff of 60 will be responsible for the general operation of the network. It is also planned that this network will be extended to deal with the regions such as Berbice and Essequibo. Currently, Envirotec does in-house recycling for Banks DIH and Demerara Distillers Ltd (DDL), and Fordyce said that these companies maintain the mandate as it relates to environmental management.

This Princes Street recycling facility will also develop the capability to supply bio-degradable bags to replace the non bio-degradable bags now in use.

Fordyce opined that if the government should ban non bio-degradable plastic bags then the problem of waste as a result of their use will not exist.

"Plastic is here to stay," he said, since the world has moved to plastic but we can use bio-degradable plastic.

This company has similar waste recycling projects in Suriname, Barbados, Jamaica, the United States and Trinidad.

The recycled waste from Guyana will be shredded and shipped overseas and in the future a washing, clashing and injection moulding plant will be built, which will be able to use the recycled material to make items like crates.

6 comments: said...

THANK YOU for posting this! So good to know about it. Things change, slowly. I hope the plant can run efficiently (esp. considering the electricity issue mentioned).

Wyn said...

I'm a PC son is in Africa. I read WAY too many blogs and yours has been one of them all along. I'm sorry about your second strike out with the PC.

Your entry today was especially interesting to me. I work in public education here in the US trying to get people to understand the importance of recycling materials. It was like a 2 for 1 today...getting my PC fix and learning about recycling efforts in another country!

Brian Reeves said...

Hey no problem Tim. I'm still on the PC Guyana admin's email list, for whatever reason, so I keep getting juicy tidbits. I'll post them if they seem like they might be of interest.

And to "Wyn," thanks for reading. I feel better about this turn of events than I felt about the first one, and I think I can now move on with my life and be satisfied that I know something about Peace Corps life. I probably won't ever join again unless it undergoes a radical change in policy, to reflect an earlier time. And like THAT'S going to happen! I hope your son has a wonderful experience in Africa.

Eliza said...

Hello! I'm out blog-hopping and landed here. I love blog reading; it's just too addictive. What could be better than dropping in out of nowhere on a random page and spending a few minutes getting to know a total stranger? I find it widens the horizons to be reading about other peoples' lives ... usually far more interesting lives than my own!
Anyway, I came, I read ... and thought that before I left, I'd say 'Hi' and send you best wishes.

Tchad said...

Hi I'm on a random trawl of blogs as well just going from link to link and came across yours, I like it and will keep popping back.

If you are interested you can check ours out -

We're a couple of couples currently doing missional stuff out in Sicily :-)

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if you ever posted anything on this blog anymore. Do you ever hear from anyone in Guy 16? I heard some PCV in Guyana just got married. Anyway, just wanted to say hello to a fellow memeber of Guyt 16...
-Dan Sawran