Separated recycled items mixed during collection

| 14/02/2019

I was dropping off some recycling at Kirk Market when I saw that all recycling containers are dumped into the same truck. Why do we need to sort recycling if that’s the case? Couldn’t we have one big recycling bin instead?

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Auntie’s answer: This is a very timely question as the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has just released figures on the amount of recyclables sent overseas last year.

I have also previously dealt with a related question when a reader was unduly concerned the DEH was emptying bins of recycled items along with garbage into the same trucks (see Recyclables and garbage are kept separate).

I asked DEH to clarify the situation you observed with the recycling pickup at Kirk Market. Unfortunately, the department official who replied was not able to say exactly what happened, while acknowledging that there “may have been a misunderstanding as the DEH requires all of its recycling collectors to pick up and transport recyclable items separately, in order to avoid contamination”.

At this point, we can only hope this does not happen again. But if anyone does see a truck combining all the recyclables, perhaps they could take a photo, which includes the licence plate number of the offending vehicle and I will pass on the information to DEH.

By the way, once a load of properly sorted recyclables is taken to the George Town Landfill, the DEH official said their collectors deposit each individual type in separate areas of the recycling facility.

Also worth noting, if you want to avoid encountering overflowing bins, the DEH empties recycling containers on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Not related to recycling but i have noticed a few things when the garbage trucks come in the morning to pick up the trash in my neighborhood.
    If the trash bins are not outside the enclosure, they don’t bother emptying them and if they do, they don’t put them back where they belong and instead just leave them lying around by the side of the road which can be dangerous as they sometimes get blown away or roll over to the middle of the road.
    I have also noticed that they won’t clear up the trash if they are not in plastic bags! Can anyone confirm if this happens everywhere or is it just in my neighborhood? Is there anything that can be done?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I saw the same thing happen at the Grand Harbor recycling spot about a month ago.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was told by a DEH collector himself that the cardboard isn’t recycled any time it rains because it gets wet in the collection bins + they don’t have anywhere to store it covered at the dump and it turns to mush and they add it to the landfill.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What I cannot understand is why cardboard which has print on it cannot be collected as recyclable, even though the box itself says it has been made from recyclable material!!!

  5. skipper says:

    In my experience at Kirks they only empty the skips when you call the DEH to tell them they are overflowing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I was dropping off my recycling at Fosters/Strand. A collection truck and man were there & he was sorting the cardboard. I duly collapsed my box to be added to the pile to be told ‘don’t do that – it’s my job’. And we wonder why the containers are overflowing!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, I suspect the real answer is that the stuff isn’t being recycled because it’s too much like hard work. That’s the way things have been done every since I first came here in 1992 and it’s going to take a lot more than installing recycling bins to change it.

    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t do that stuff around here. Don’t you see the sun, sea and palm trees? Show me a person in Cayman and I will show you a person who does not want to work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Instead instead of suspecting, you should take a tour of the recycling facilities. I suspect that would end your suspicions.