Thousands of households are to begin receiving roll-out carts and recycling bins as the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) Residential Waste Collection Improvement Project kicked off on Wednesday.
Officials said the project, a collaboration between the SSA and the privately-owned Prosource Limited to distribute a 65-gallon roll-out cart and an 18-gallon bin for recycling is intended to ease the workload of sanitation workers.
The carts do not require any special lifting and are easy to roll out regardless of how much they are filled. Mechanical cart lifters operated by sanitation workers lift and tip the carts into the truck.
At the project’s launch, Minister of Environment Adrian Forde and officials from the Prosource distribution team, handed out the first set of carts and bins to residents of Broomfield, St Lucy.
Northern parishes will be the first on the island to receive the carts and bins. Each new roll-out cart features a QR code on the lid which will allow the SSA to track the roll-out cart and recycling bin based on their location. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology will also be used to assist the SSA with better route planning and systematic collection in neighbourhoods.
Forde touted the waste collection improvement project as the answer to SSA workers’ long-time complaints about the hazards and physiological illnesses associated with the job of lifting and emptying heavy garbage cans.
He said: “For too long sanitation workers complain about the fact that they have been getting a lot of damage to their hand, they get cuts, they get bruises. Those days are over because we came to the government saying first of all that we care, we care about the workers. And it is our job to care about their interests.”
The project is also geared at slashing in half the amount of garbage that ends up in the national landfill, currently estimated at 700 to 1000 tonnes of garbage daily.
Declaring the Residential Waste Collection Improvement Project as a major step in the right direction since it encourages Barbadians to separate their waste, Forde said Barbados will then be able to export the recyclables and bring foreign exchange to the country.
The minister said: “But it is not only the recyclable that we are looking at. There are five tenets associated with solid waste management. Reduce; we are going to encourage every single Barbadian to reduce that which they put in the garbage by reusing which is the next R.
“There are a lot of things that we put in the garbage that we can certainly reuse. Recycle is one aspect of the project that we are rolling out right now so it is reduce, reuse, recycle, recover. There are a lot of things that we can recover for its true potential. And last, but not least, repair.
“There are a host of things that we can repair in this circular Barbados. Because the only way that we can get out of the congestion of garbage at the landfill, is if we have a proper integrated solid waste management policy and allow Barbadians to have an integral and tangible stake in the way that they manage their garbage disposal.”
Forde said the project could also reduce the strain on the country’s health services.
Member of Parliament for St Lucy Peter Phillips told the launch the project will enable the residents of his constituency to play a role in helping the country to improve its waste management strategies.
SSA Public Relations Officer Alf Padmore explained that the project will deliver 100,000 bins to householders across the island, while over 90 per cent of the authority’s fleet has been outfitted with hydraulics. Padmore said while he is unable to speak about the project’s price tag, he can say that “it is in the millions” for the benefit of Barbadians.
Padmore said that as the project continues to be rolled out, the SSA will educate Barbadians on the appropriate way to use the bins, including what they should not put into them. (AH)