Sept. 1, 2008 — After many false starts and an occasional all-too-brief success, recycling on St. John is getting back on track thanks to the ad hoc St. John Recycling Group.
"It really takes individuals to do it," member Barb Douma said.
She hopes that people won't dwell too long on all the previous public and private attempts at recycling made on St. John. Instead, she'd like them to look forward to the possibilities.
According to Douma, the Green Sanctuary Program of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. John, the Guy Benjamin School and Concordia Eco-camps, all on St. John, have their own aluminum can recycling programs, but until the Recycling Group started up, the public had no way to recycle their cans.
The group organized about six weeks ago to get aluminum can recycling underway. Some members have experience through previous recycling attempts, but others are new to the effort.
So far, they've installed a bin next to the Coral Bay Dumpster. Another bin to be placed next to the St. John Inn in Cruz Bay is in the works with others planned for Dumpster locations across St. John. Douma said Paradise Lumber on St. John promised to donate the lumber for the bins.
So far, group members have collected six large bags plastic bags of cans from the Coral Bay collection site.
"The easiest place to start is cans, and that gives us momentum," Douma said.
Group members will truck the cans to Sanitary Trash Removal Service in Sub Base, St. Thomas to redeem the cans for cash. The 25 cents per pound received for the cans in clear plastic bags and the 20 cents for cans in black plastic bags will get plowed back into the program.
However, the group hopes to put together a "phone tree" of volunteers with pickup trucks that will take the cans when they make trips to St. Thomas.
"You go over empty and come back full," group member Cary Chapin said, referring to the common practice by St. John residents of making trips with their vehicles via the barge that runs between St. John and St. Thomas.
Once they get the aluminum can program on track, Douma said the group plans to address glass crushing. Several efforts were made by previous recycling committees to get the glass crusher now languishing at the Westin Resort and Villas maintenance yard operational. None were successful.
"It will take a chunk of change to get it up and running," Douma said.
The Recycling Group members are also looking for space where Jason Monigold of Computer Express can store old computers. Douma said that Monigold wants to refurbish them to give away to people in need of a computer.
The Recycling Group meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays on the third floor of the Marketplace Shopping Center outside of Baked in the Sun bakery. Anyone is welcome to join.
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