Recyclables and garbage are kept separate

| 17/10/2018

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusI was told that separating trash into recycling material and regular material doesn’t make sense because the recycling material collected at the collecting stations (supermarkets) gets dumped into the same dump truck as the regular trash. This was witnessed by someone I know.

Could you do some investigative research and let us know what happens to the recycling material after it gets collected at the collecting stations? It hurts my soul to throw recyclable material into the regular trash.

Auntie’s answer: I actually went straight to the Department of Environmental Health (DEH), which oversees recycling, to see if they could help, and it turns out they could. It sounds like it was a case of “mistaken identity”.

I will let a DEH official explain. “The DEH uses its front-end loaders to remove garbage from some larger containers. It also utilises the same vehicles to remove recyclables from similarly sized containers located at the various supermarket depots.

“It should be noted, however; that garbage and recyclable items are usually collected at different times, and the vehicle cleaned between collections.”

So while your friend did see a dump truck picking up a load of goods to be recycled, the vehicle was on its recycle run, as it were, and not hauling garbage.

I hope you will also be relieved to hear that the recyclables and garbage are brought to different sections of the George Town landfill. Recycled items go to a specially designated section and the garbage is brought to the general tipping area.

However, if the goods targeted for recycling are found to be contaminated, by such things as “dead animals, flammable substances or other items which may result in public health concerns”, then that load will be dealt with like regular garbage, to prevent the contamination of other recyclables.

For the best outcome, the DEH official stressed, “It is imperative that residents pay keen attention to the items they place in recycling containers and the condition of these items to prevent their disposal…and always ensure that they are clean.”

You might also find these previous columns on recycling helpful: Concerned about official recycling efforts and Recycling in Cayman not a waste.

For a list of recyclable items and depot locations go to the DEH website

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Category: Ask Auntie, Environmental Questions

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This also bugged me. Thanks for the clarification CNS/Auntie.