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Recycling In Jamaica

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Recycling In JamaicaRecycling In Jamaica

Lajune Stewart | Associate Writer

Recycling is vital in today’s world. We are encouraged to reuse items and give them a longer life to preserve the climate and (optimistically) reverse the damage we have inflicted on our planet. But what is recycling? Britannica says, “It is the recovery and reprocessing of waste materials for use in new products.”


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We typically recycle iron, steel scrap, aluminium cans, glass bottles, organic materials, and plastics.

Is plastic banned in Jamaica?

In 2018, the plastic ban laws were introduced to the Jamaican public. This ban would affect the manufacturing, importation and distribution of specific single-use plastics.

The Government of Jamaica announced a policy to implement a ban on the manufacturing, importation, distribution and use of certain plastics including single-use bags (scandal bags), plastic straws and expanded polystyrene foam (styrofoam) products, which would be in full effect by January of 2019.

The “Beating Plastic Pollution” Campaign was launched in June 2018 this is geared toward eliminating single-use plastic by 2030. The campaign was approached with some resolve and with much success.

In the initial stages, the secretariat which was formed manufactured and circulated over 1 000 reusable shopping bags and over 1 000 reusable drinking bottles and aluminium bottles to the public.

The success is evident as it is now virtually impossible to get a “scandal bag” (single-use plastic bag) from a supermarket or any other shopping facility. In the initial stages, there was resistance of course, but now we have, I would say, fully adjusted to the more eco-friendly change.

How much waste is produced in Jamaica?

Quite soberingly, National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), disclosed that Jamaica produces an average of 8,657 tons of solid waste per day. This meant that between March 2013 and 2014 the island produced 3.3 million pounds of plastic which is equal to approximately 100 million bottles.

Does Jamaica have a recycling program?

At this point, I will let you know who Jamaica's most easily recognisable recyclers are, and what they recycle.

First, there is Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) that runs a free recycling collection depot for plastic bottles PET (type 1) and HDPE (type 2). Presently, they do not facilitate glass styrofoam or any other types of plastic.

Their only request is that you simply place the clean plastic bottles in the bins provided and leave with any other items that are not accepted at the facility.

Managing Director of Red Stripe, Luis Prata is on a mission to “ensure a sustained supply of Jamaica’s favourite brews to our consumers.”

To help make this possible he explained that the company is seeking to reacquaint Jamaicans to inspire us to reduce our carbon footprints by offering JMD 30 for each bottle; full crates will earn you JMD 840.

Aside from the cash incentives, Red Stripe’s Stripe Distribution Centre located in Montego Bay will accept walk-in returns Mondays to Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bottles are accepted at wholesales nationwide and at Red Stripe 214 Exchange in Kingston. And just like that, what you do after drinking a Red Stripe can impact the environment. Keep your bottles in peak condition to avoid rejection.

Through public and private partnerships with the Government of Jamaica the Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ), it is mandated to remove plastic waste from the environment. Since 2021 via 300 drop-off points, they have collected 600,000m kg of plastic. Organizations/schools can schedule pick of their recyclable bottles.

Guidelines as listed on the RPJ website.

Pick-up in and around the cooperate area must exceed 89kg, collections are facilitated on weekdays, other parishes a minimum criterion of 362kg needs to be met.

Before storing bottles always Remember to:

  1. Empty bottle content
  2. Store bottles in a recycling bin, super sack, or garbage bags for easy pick-up.
  3. Place packaged bottles in an area easily accessible by truck for the day of collection.

RE3 Recovery Services Ltd is an organization geared toward recycling used oil-based material they also offer the following services:

  • Collection of cooking oil
  • Collection Petroleum oil
  • Oily water remediation

Recycled petroleum-based oils fuel the facility's recycling process, thereby drastically reducing energy costs. The finished products are sold as fuel for heavy industry, yellow grease for the production of biodiesel, soap, or livestock feed ingredients.

What is Composting?

Composting is nature’s recycling of organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. We too can return nutrients to the earth if we follow a specific method and repeat the process by composting organic waste such as kitchen scraps. Compost looks like dark brown, crumbly soil, with a smell akin to the forest floor. Compost material may include:

  • Kitchen scraps (vegetable and fruit peelings)
  • Garden refuse; grass and hedge clippings, leaves, flowers
  • Manure from herbivores (cow, pig, goat, etc.)
  • Paper, cardboard, sawdust, and wood shavings
  • Wood ashes

Benefits of recycling?

  1. It diminishes the amount of waste in landfills while conserving valuable land space.

  2. It saves non-renewable resources such as petroleum-based products, and minerals which are exhausted less rapidly when materials derived from them such as paper, glass, and metals are recycled.

  3. It helps to reduce waste in landfills that would have otherwise gradually seeped harmful toxins into the earth.

  4. The production of new items requires more energy when compared to recycled items.

  5. For example, recycled paper and glass use 40 per cent less energy, and recycling metal uses 95 % less energy.

  6. It positively impacts wildlife habitats.

Watch Video! | Plastic Waste Recycling Initiative

Cata Doc, from Catadupa, St. James is doing his part in preserving the planet with the Plastic Waste Recycling Initiative.

It is not as easy as in developed economies to find recycling centres, nor do we generally separate garbage into recyclable and non-recyclable bits.

However, most properties participate in recycling programmes here and there are numerous compost recipes that you can find to begin making great compost.

Recycling In Jamaica | Bin Distinctions In JamaicaRecycling In Jamaica | Bin Distinctions In Jamaica

Recycling in Jamaica is the only way to ensure that we reverse the harm we’ve inflicted on our planet and the natural resources we were given. We must all play our roles in doing as much as possible to preserve Earth for the next generation.

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References & Sources For Recycling In Jamaica

  1. Jamentrust.org. 2022. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 September 2022].
  2. Jamentrust.org. 2022. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 September 2022].
  3. Nswma.gov.jm. 2022. Backyard Composting – A Guide for Composting Yard and Food Waste | National Solid Waste Management Authority - Jamaica. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 September 2022].

Recycling In Jamaica | Written: September 21, 2022

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