October 25, 2020

Cayman’s new green team

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The new Aluminium recycling bin at George Town Villas

The Corporate Green Team Network was set up in June 2009 after representatives from the Sustainable Development Unit of the  Department of Environment (DoE) met with accountancy firm, Deloitte, to discuss ways of making Cayman a greener place to life.

“The Department and Deloitte realised there was quite a few corporate organisations who had these networks in place and that it would be good if they got together and there was a forum for them to share ideas and make grass-roots level changes to the community,” said the Department’s Environmental Assessment Officer Wendy Williams.

The Corporate Green Team Network was the result of that meeting.

“It’s for corporate entities that have existing Green teams and networks within their organisations who look to promote sustainable initiatives and stewardship of the environment,” explained the Department’s Wendy Williams.

The very first campaign, Called Cayman BECOME, began just over a year ago, when Network representatives approached all the supermarkets, to see if they’d replace their single use shopping bags with strong cloth bags that shoppers could use over and over again. The idea was to cut down on the thousands of plastic shopping bags that end up at the landfill. “Kirk’s, Foster’s and Hurley’s were very supportive. The reusable bags were introduced and they started charging five cents for the plastic bags. I think it’s really been a big positive step forward,” Ms Williams said.

Members of the Corporate Green Team Network, and two big bags filled with aluminium cans: (L-r) Janelle Kroon and Jane Cowdery, residents of George Town Villas, and representatives of companies who belong to the network, with Wendy Williams, Environmental Assessment Officer with the Department of Environment.

Cayman Become initially appeared to be a big success, and supermarkets reported an 80% reduction in the number

of plastic bags they were giving out. But recently people have begun slipping back into their old, non-green ways,

“I think that they’ve recognized that charging five cents per bag is not a significant deterrent – I think that they’d rather educate people to be responsible in their shopping patterns and actually for them to take the choice to bring their bags in,” Ms Williams said.

“So we all feel that trying to encourage positive behavior, and so we’re moving to Phase Two of the campaign,” she said.

After discussion with all the supermarkets, it was agreed that every second Saturday of the month starting from the 10th of December, supermarkets would remove the option of purchasing a plastic bag.

“The second phase is that, every second Saturday of the month, starting on the tenth of December, the shoppers won’t have the option to purchase a five cent single-use plastic bag – shoppers can either take their bags from home, and fill them out with their shopping, or purchase a reusable bag from the supermarkets,” Ms Williams explained.

The network has also started an aluminium can recycling programme after an employee from KPMG accounting firm, who had already begun aluminium can recycling project at the KPMG offices, told the Network about it.

The Network decided to expand the programme, and currently three condo developments, George Town Villas, Emerald Beach Club and Cayman Crossing have come onboard. They each have special dustbins, with big green recycling signs on them, just for aluminium cans. When a bin is full up with the cans, a phone call is made to Tim Frey who runs of a local company called Recycling Services, who comes to collect the cans which are then sent off island in containers.

 

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