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AIR Inc encourages persons to recycle

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All Islands Recycling (AIR Inc) has been operating in St Vincent and the Grenadines for less than two years and already the company has made a significant impact on reducing the carbon footprint of the multi-island state.{{more}}

AIR, a company which specializes in the gathering and packaging of recyclables, operates out of a Campden Park base and encourages persons to recycle, “to help preserve SVG’s beauty beginning today for our children and beyond”.

Since AIR’s introduction to St Vincent and the Grenadines in September 2011, the company, along with other local entities (Digicel, eZone, General Maritime, Ministry of Tourism, S. G. De Freitas, St Vincent Motors, Subway and Tire Plus) supporting the “Keep SVG Tidy” initiative, positioned 10 eight foot high bins around Kingstown.

The bins were put down in June, 2012 in an effort to begin creating recycling awareness.

“Initially, it was not clear to the majority of the public why the bins were placed around town; questions such as why so tall etc were asked. After some tests and feedback, they were given a fresh look, which included clearer labelling in December 2012 and now AIR Inc has noticed a significant increase of use by the public throughout Kingstown for recyclables and other litter,” said Dwight Hillocks of AIR Inc. this week.

Through a school pilot competition which began on November 19, 2012, the company was able to gather and safely store over 38,000 plastic bottles, therefore reducing our carbon footprint.

Hillocks said also that the company placed 85 blue bins/receptacles at 15 of the Kingstown based schools and this set the tone for a recycling competition dubbed “On Your Marks! Get Set! RECYCLE!”

The three-week recycling competition was launched at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School and was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

The competition involved the collection of empty plastic beverage bottles and aluminum beverage cans. The schools collecting the most money by December 11, 2012 for the beverage containers collected an additional sum of money, to be used for a school project identified by the school.

Hillocks said that the pilot competition sought to encourage students to keep the environment clean while earning cash for their schools in the process, “considering it is just the start, it worked wonderfully”.

The schools were paid $4.80 per kilogram for clean bottles, $2.40 cents for dirty bottles, while clean aluminum cans fetched $2.40 per kilogram and $1 per kilogram for dirty cans.

The winners were announced on December 12, 2012 and out of the 15 primary and secondary schools that competed, the Kingstown Anglican School took the top spot, as they collected $1,730 worth of bottles. They were rewarded an additional $1,500. The privately owned Windsor Primary School placed second having collected $1,027 worth of bottles while third place went to the C.W. Prescod Primary School. They collected $487 worth of bottles. The Windsor School received an additional $1,000 for placing second, while the C.W. Prescod received an additional $500 dollars for coming in third.

During the pilot competition period, the schools collected just over 38,000 bottles, while the various schools all collected cheques ranging from $100 to $1,700 for their bottle collection.

Hillocks said that the competition was a success, as apart from earning the schools well-needed cash, it saved over 38,000 empty soft drink plastic bottles from getting into landfills and oceans within a 15-day period.

AIR is in the process of incorporating the schools of the rural school districts on the Windward and Leeward side of the island in the company’s continued efforts to make the country cleaner, while the bins have been left at the various schools in Kingstown with the contents being regularly collected by AIR’s staff.

“The main objective is to create the awareness, engage the children, while at the same time reduce the amount of recyclables from reaching the landfills and into our oceans which is extremely destructive to our marine life”, said Hillocks.

He stressed that everyone must look out for the number “1” within the recycle symbol, as the company continues to create recycling awareness and, more importantly, engage the people of SVG sooner than later to recycle and preserve SVG.

Recyclable plastics are graded 1-8 and Hillocks says that in the near future AIR will eventually tackle the grade 2-8 plastics.

“Plastic is dangerous to the environment because it gets into the marine world, among other places, when consumers dispose of these used plastic items everywhere other than recycle bins…recycling reduces the mining of raw materials and everything that is recycled reduces manufacturing cost and prevents pollution on a huge scale,” stresses Hillocks.

Meanwhile, the winners of the “On Your Marks! Get Set! RECYCLE!” competition, which took place in Kingstown secondary schools, is soon to be announced.

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