Where do Cayman’s recyclables wind up?

| 24/01/2019

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

As the US reroutes their recycling to Southeast Asia, rumour has it that Cayman’s recycling (and possibly the rest of the Caribbean’s recycling) is being held in limbo or is costing the Cayman Islands Government more $$$ to ship off Island. I know you’ve answered questions about recycling before but could you find out where our recycling actually goes? Maybe there is a list of what items are shipped where?

Auntie’s answer: I was only able to get a partial answer for you. An official with the Department of Environmental Health (DEH), which oversees recycling, explained that the Cayman’s recyclables are shipped to Florida, to a company called Waste Management Resource Solutions.

Waste Management will then find “the most suitable markets for these recyclables”, the official said, adding “that buyers will vary according to market demands”.

While the company has a page on its website covering Solid Waste Management, on the question of where the recyclables are sent, it only says, “we will look for buyers on both the national and international markets, seeking to gain the best prices for the volumes you produce”. There is no indication of possible destinations and DEH was not able to provide any details.

You are correct that DEH covers the cost to have the recyclables shipped but once Waste Management sells them the company will then pay DEH for those items.

The department supplied the below table which breaks down costs and revenue for various types of recyclables for a shipment in March last year. The official also explained that the amount of revenue depends on the quality of the bales, and advised, “It is therefore important for residents to recycle correctly in order to reduce the amount of contaminants that go into DEH recycling containers.”

Type of Material Shipping Cost (CI$) Revenue (CI$)
Plastic Bailed $2,162.30 $844.20
Cardboard $2,162.30 $1,542.55
Wet Filled Acid Batteries $1,150.28 $1085.80
Aluminium Cans $1,150.28 $2,601.60

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Category: Ask Auntie, Environmental Questions

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Even if there is zero profit, it is better than putting these items in the land fill.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It all ends up in the DUMP…..!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Shipping cost/ revenue per… ?? Ton? Sq.ft?

    • Anonymous says:

      per whatever they shipped. Metric is immaterial (though interesting). They paid $1150 on B batteries and took in $1085 on B batteries.