Community recycling collection point officially opened

POSTED: 04/1/15 8:01 PM

St. Maarten -The first organized community recycling collection point was officially opened this Saturday by Minister Claret Connor.

Learning Unlimited 11th grade student Bodine Beentjes took the initiative to organize the set up of such collection point for the Tamarind Hill Estates in the Red Pond area. In collaboration with Steve Hammond of St. Maarten Recycle and Roy Tempels of St. Maarten Clean, a plan was arrived at as to how the collection area would be built, which garbage materials would be collected separate from the regular household garbage and how and when to pick up these items.

With the support of the Tamarind Hill Homeowners Foundation and the owners of Tamaridge Apartments (who made the land available), a professional, well designed garbage separation area was built. Arrangements have been made for a truck of St. Maarten Clean to pick up aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles and empty cartons once a week. Residents in the area have been informed of the initiative by Bodine and were given instructions on how to separate and dispose of the re-usable items in the collection area.

“It is a small beginning, with huge potential, to limit the environmental impact of waste on St. Maarten. Every day many containers arrive on St. Maarten with all kinds of articles and goods. At the end of the day almost everything ends up at the landfill. Now there are businesses starting to show interest in collecting certain garbage items and ship them off the island for recycling. If every community on the island can start with separating re-usable garbage, we can lower the amount of garbage on the landfill.  And maybe even, one day, we can have our own recycle facility on the island, which will create business opportunities and jobs,” Bodine says.

Bodine noted that these days the tourism industry has a growing interest in the environmental awareness of travel destinations and cites this as another important reason to start separating and recycling garbage. “This way we, St. Maarten, do show that we care and take the environmental awareness seriously.”

Minister Connor was said to have been very impressed with the project and is pleased that there are young people on the island like Bodine willing to give time and such effort. He trusts Bodine will continue her work by assisting other communities, schools, hotels and businesses in their recycling efforts and that this idea will be spearheaded all over the island, which will be favorable to all its residents. On behalf of the St.Maarten Government he sincerely thanked Bodine for her efforts and wished her good luck for the future.

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