April 14, 2011
Bottle deposits coming soon
Islands free from bottles and cans littering beaches is a dream that the Environmental Health Department hopes to soon make a reality in these “Beautiful by Nature” Turks and Caicos Islands.
The department recently revealed plans to institute a deposit scheme on recyclable glass, aluminum cans and bottles that aims to keep trash off the streets and out of the environment. The government estimates a staggering 20 million beverage containers per year are imported into the country, landing at the dump site or thrown alongside the roadsides, beaches, parks and neighborhoods.
Coming soon, consumers will have to pay an additional surcharge on these items upon purchase at retailers across the country. A levy of 8 cents is expected on beverage container up to 16 ounces and 13 cents per container in excess of 16 ounces.
The money will be partially refunded, 5 cents and 10 cents respectively, when the items are returned to Redemption Centers located throughout the islands. The remainder will be used to operate the redemption centers and administer the scheme.
Refunds are expected to be made via cash or by electronically printed vouchers that can be redeemed at the adjacent supermarket.
The Redemption Centers will collect, compact and transport the collected materials to a recycler in the islands for further processing.
While details have not yet not officially been released, the Environmental Health Department sent out a request for tender recently looking for parties interested in operating the centers.
According to the tender, the Environmental Health Department has so far identified and secured two locations for Redemption Centers on Providenciales, including in the IGA Graceway supermarket car park on Leeward Highway, and in the Butterfield Square Car Park in downtown Providenciales.
Other centers are expected to be put into operation on North Caicos (covering Middle Caicos, Parrot and Pine Cay) and Grand Turk (covering Salt Cay and South Caicos).
The proposed programme appears to be modeled after recycling programmes in the United States. Almost a dozen U.S. states already have bottle laws and deposit system for beverage containers, and more are being added each year.
The redemption centers will be purchased from Nexcollect, a private company that provides beverage-container redemption services in California, Maine and Vermont. It is a subsidiary of Strategic Materials Incorporated, the largest glass recycler in the U.S. with 31 plants in the U.S., Canada & Mexico.
The Redemption Centers will be operated seven days a week for approximately 25 hours. The center operator will accept the bottles for return and place them into one of three compartments to hold metal, glass and plastic, which uses a battery powered compactor to achieve a 12-1 compaction of aluminum, plastic and glass beverage containers.
Bids for operation of the redemption centers are being accepted until Friday, April 29.
The bottle deposit scheme is expected to go into affect later this year.
Beverage container facts
- According to industry estimates, beverage containers compose 40-60% of litter.
- A deposit is intended to encourage people to return these containers, keeping them off the streets and out of the waterways and wilderness.
- U.S. government-funded studies conducted pre- and post-bottle bill in seven states showed reductions in beverage container litter ranging from 69-84%, and reductions in total litter ranging from 30-65%.