Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, has welcomed the latest initiative by brewing company, Red Stripe, aimed at reducing the company’s waste to landfill output to zero.
Speaking at the official launch of the project at the company’s Spanish Town Road location on October 22, Mr. Vaz said the innovation, dubbed the ‘Red Stripe Circular Economy Project’, has the ultimate goal of diverting waste streams to productive enterprise.
The Minister, who has responsibility for the Environment, said this will also serve to benefit the economy, provide jobs and preserve the environment.
“This approach to a more appropriate waste management system that supports the environment, reduces our carbon footprint and promotes sustainable development is timely and welcomed by the Government,” he argued.
A circular economy is a system in which resources are reused for as long as possible, resources are recycled and efforts are made to reduce waste overall.
Mr. Vaz further commended Red Stripe for seeing the need to ensure cleaner production technologies and processes for its products and facilities and in the process educate consumers about the use of more renewable technologies and environmentally friendly goods and services to limit any adverse effects on public health and the environment.
“With the Circular Economy system, it shifts from the end-of-life concepts to restorative, regeneration, recycling/redistribution and reuse approaches. Circular systems employ methods that we always encourage persons to adopt, namely reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a close-loop system. This serves to minimise the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions,” he said.
The Minister noted the project is even more important given the fact that plastics are “the most bothersome to the country at this time,” despite various initiatives by the Government, including the ban on single-use plastics in January this year and the establishment of a deposit refund scheme for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and plastic bottles.
Mr. Vaz argued that while the ban on single-use plastics serves to mitigate some of the country’s waste-management challenges, it is not a panacea, and so the effective management of the country’s wastes is not the responsibility of the Government alone but also of the private sector, civil society and individuals.
The wastes to be targeted under the project are primarily wood, paper, plastics and metal. Other waste streams that will also be made available include spent grain and yeast.
The objectives of the project are to increase awareness of the need for and benefits of a circular economy to the environment and communities; create a shift in behaviour among employees and stakeholders initially, and, ultimately, to the wider community, to reduce, recycle and reuse waste; and divert at least four types of waste to productive enterprise.
Key entities that will be involved in the project include the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the HEART Trust/NTA, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The project has an initial start-up budget of $6 million.