The Zero Waste Enterprise Initiative
If you go through your trash you will find a number of materials, which are often classified as ‘garbage’ meaning that they are thought to have no value and should just be thrown away. The problem with just throwing them away is that they don’t disappear into a magical black hole never to be seen again; but, in reality, they are stored in our dumps where our country’s solid waste management system simply digs a hole, buries the garbage and covers it with marl. In a simpler time when garbage consisted of mostly organic matter and paper, which biodegrade with short turnover times, this approach would have been fine. However in the age of Plastics and Styrofoam, which can survive centuries without decomposing, this approach is not good enough.
If you follow us on our social media you may have seen us refer to our Zero Waste Enterprise at least once. However, do you know what its’ all about?
The 360 Zero Waste Model was born out of our concern for the serious Waste Management issues Jamaica faces today. We’ve all either seen, been affected by or heard about the air pollution from burning garbage or the pollution of our water bodies from improperly disposed of trash or even the litter on the streets of Kingston. These serious health and environmental risks were the flames from which the 360 Zero Waste Enterprise was forged.
What is a Zero Waste Enterprise?
The logic of the Zero Waste Model is that setting up a mini recycling facility at the source of all garbage disposal, the community, would solve a number of the issues we’ve mentioned above. The model is designed in such a way to allow the facility to carry out all 5 stages of recycling:
The aim is that these facilities would be self-sustaining, as the proceeds from the sale of the recyclables go into paying staff and any other operational costs the facility might incur. In this way the Zero Waste Facilities are not only an answer to our Waste Management Problems but also an opportunity for job creation.
We are currently in the process of building the infrastructure for the first of our facilities in the community of Jones Town. This endeavor is the result of a collaboration between 360 Recycle Manufacturing, the Trench Town Community Development Committee and the Jones Town Community Development Community with the support of Mark Golding, the MP for the area. The infrastructure itself is being sponsored by the Digicel Foundation and the buildings are being built by tradesmen from within these communities using the 360 panel boards made from recycled materials.
Once complete the facility will include a sorting station, a processing unit and an office space. Once the rubbish from the community is collected it will deposited at the Zero Waste facilities where the trash will be separated into plastics, Styrofoam and paper using the sorting station which is built with 3 separate sections. The sorted material will then be taken to the Processing Unit to be processed and then either sold or manufactured into products that can then go on to be sold. The Office Space will serve as an area to hold all staff necessary to handle the administrative obligations associated with the process.
Where communities would once set their garbage on fire now they would have the opportunity to turn their trash into a viable source of income and employment for persons within the community. Where communities would once simply throw their trash in the gullies, now they would not only have a proper system for its disposal but a vested interest in ensuring it ends up at the local facility.
The Jones Town facility will be the flagship and the test run, as we aim to tweak and perfect this model so that it may become an efficient, viable and profitable answer to our Solid Waste Management Problem. In this modern world we must at a national level re-examine what we classify as ‘garbage’, as what we conventionally view as worthless in actuality is an untapped resource waiting to be utilised.