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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesVolunteers Begin Recycling the Recycling Center

Volunteers Begin Recycling the Recycling Center

It’s called recycling: taking something old, used, worn out, and giving it a new life.

And that’s just what six volunteers were doing Saturday morning as they worked to give new life to the Boys & Girls Club’s Recycling Center in Anna’s Hope, taking the first baby steps in re-opening it.

The center was first opened 30 years ago by the founder of the St. Croix Boys & Girls Club, Donald S. Walker. It has had an uneven history, fighting economic tides and the difficulty of making recycling on the island a viable proposition. The center has been closed for more than a year now.

But with the cooperation of several community groups, the support of St. Croix businesses and a lot of volunteer efforts, the Boys & Girls Club Recycling Center will live again, with plans calling for it to reopen in February as a public drop-off site for recyclable material, open Thursday through Saturday.

According to club officer Emily Graci, the Boys & Girls Club was asked by the Recycling Association of the Virgin Islands how the group could help get the center going again. Colleen Sullivan of RAVI took the project and ran with it, Graci said, finding $38,625 in grant money to buy a new condenser, a machine that crush and compress a load of aluminum cans to one fiftieth of its size.

That’s not insignificant, she added. A study estimates 27 million cans are thrown away on St. Croix every year. The center’s goal is to cut that by 10 to 15 percent.

The club and RAVI are also lining up corporate sponsors and have found a contractor to operate the site, Virgin Islands Recycling.

But before all that can happen, the site needs to be cleaned and put in good repair. Saturday was the first step in that direction. Six volunteers showed up at 7 a.m., unlocked the gates and started clearing brush and debris that had accumulated since before the center went silent more than a year ago. Two of the volunteers were from the Boys & Girls Club – Graci and club executive director Julie Landreneau – three from RAVI – Marlene Harris, Lee Fleming and Jeff Lawler – and one man who doesn’t even live on St. Croix but heard about the work party and showed up to help.

John Cianci is visiting family on the island. A restaurateur from Rhode Island involved with youth activities there. He is considering moving to the territory, and when he heard the Boys & Girls Club needed volunteers, he was there ready to help, he said.

Two large trash containers were filled with tree limbs, vines and other debris, and old cans and other trash were bagged and stacked. But so much more needs to be done. Half the roof is missing from the wall-less structure, and there’s lots more cleaning and organizing that needs to be done.

Landreneau said the recycling center is something the whole island needs, and the whole island will need to get behind the effort to get it going again. There’s room for everyone – community groups, schools, government and private individuals can all play a part.

"It’s a community effort," she said. "Everyone needs to be part of making it happens."

Anyone interested in helping out can to contact Sullivan, the RAVI project manager, at stxra@usvircd.org.

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