Plastic bottles being offloaded at All Island Recycling (AIR) Inc., a recycling plant in Campden Park. (File photo)
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May 11, 2021
Influx of plastic bottles will triple recycling volume – AIR

With the influx of plastic drinking bottles into St Vincent and the Grenadines through volcano relief efforts, management of local recycling plant, All Island Recycling (AIR) Inc anticipates that they will triple the volume of bottles being recycled in coming months.

Therefore, CEO, Dwight Hillocks does not believe the influx will cause a waste crisis in SVG.

“What we are seeing here is an increase in volume. We are quite confident that harvesters and people who are concerned about the environment, people who are becoming aware of our existence, we are hoping that they do their part,” Hillocks told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday afternoon.

“We are not going to get 100 per cent of the bottles but we have an aim, which is 70 to 85 per cent. In the likely event that we are able to pull that off, then there’s no crisis.”

Usually, the company ships out a 40ft container to countries like India and Pakistan every six weeks packed with shredded plastic bottles.

Hillocks said: “we expect to do three times the volume during the same period so every two weeks, we anticipate having a container shipped”.

On average, each container shipped out contains one million shredded bottles.

AIR Inc’s founder and CEO also told SEARCHLIGHT that the company is attempting to ship to the United States so that they can move the shredded bottles more frequently.

AIR Inc, which is located on the Campden Park Industrial Estate area, has been in existence since November 2014.

The company recycles various items, including plastic bottles, cardboard, plastic wrap and non-ferrous materials.

While Hillocks also expects to see an increase in the other materials like cardboard and plastic wrap locally, he does not anticipate that it will be as great as the increase in plastic bottles.

Through AIR Inc’s operation, many Vincentians have an opportunity to earn thousands of dollars on a monthly basis by collecting bottles and taking them to the recycling company.

Hillocks disclosed this week that at least 60 per cent of harvesters – people that collect and bring in plastic bottles are women, who sometimes earn up to $3000 on a monthly basis.

He added that the increased amount of plastic bottles in the country has brought awareness to the overall concept of waste management, as people are beginning to realise the potential problem if nothing is done about it.

Shelters have been identified as one area where plastic bottles are being used heavily, given the current situation in the country.

Hillocks said: “we are hoping more people come forward in the shelters…we have been attempting to go around to shelters to educate shelter managers and so forth”.

He also believes that the increase of people getting involved in collecting bottles to be recycled, coupled with the veteran harvesters, will help to ensure that there is no waste crisis in SVG.

The CEO is encouraging persons in the communities to take care of the plastic bottles so that they can be brought in to be recycled, which will in turn result in some form of income.

Due to COVID19, truckloads of beverage plastic bottles are accepted by appointment only, however anyone with five bags or less can drop off their bags, weigh and get paid Monday to Friday between 8am and 3pm.

These specific bags can be bought for $1 at AIR Inc in Campden Park.

Persons harvesting plastic bottles are encouraged to rinse bottles, sort them by colour and remove the cap to fetch a higher price for their collection.

Current prices are $0.50 per kg for dirty bottles (bottles with liquids), caps/covers on or unsorted plastic bottles, while bottles that have been rinsed, sorted by colour with caps off are $2.75 per kg.

AIR Inc also purchases plastic bottle covers/caps for $0.10 per kg.

Interested persons can contact AIR Inc for more details or to make appointments for truckloads by telephone 1(784)453-4150.