The government through the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing opened the first recycling depot at Trinity, St. Mary on December 4, 2014. The initiative is being carried out under a collaborative effort between the private and public sector under a company known as Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ).

The aim of the recycling project is to ultimately recover some 4,690 tonnes of PET material (plastic bottles) and aid in the creation of employment for in excess of 3,000 persons over the next three years.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy hailed Recycling Partners of Jamaica for their contribution to the recycling industry as they ‘seek to increase employment and improve the environmental footprint of local businesses’’.

“As Minister with responsibility for Housing in the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing , I endorse this project as the protection of the environment plays an integral role in the development of communities for now with sustainability for the future and the construction of housing solutions in an environmentally and ecological sound area.”

Continuing, the Minister said, “This partnership sees the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing through JEEP contributing $150M over the next three years to the Initiative at $50m per year; this I believe speaks to our commitment to the Project. This is putting our money where our mouth is.”

RPJ hopes to boost the recovery of PET bottles by 35% over a three year period; this to be done from bottles used in in the packaging of soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, detergents, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, edible oils etc.

The Programme will see the establishment of satellite depots in strategic locations around the island to facilitate collection of the bottles by JEEP and other recycling collectors. These depots will receive the reclaimed bottles and will bulk and bale them so as to increase efficiencies in handling, storage and transportation. The PET bottles purchased from collectors will be weighed, baled and shipped overseas for further processing.

There are two possible levels of employment under the Programme. On the one hand, a JEEP Entrepreneur may be considered an individual (or group) who has invested more than the labour of collecting the PET1 bottles in the Recycling effort. In this instance, a businessman who employs a few individuals and participates in training programmes would qualify.

For those interested in collecting and supplying the bottles, there is also a place. Through JEEP and RPJ, such persons may contact representatives of either or both organisations, register with the JEEP Programme as a collector.

So far, between May 1, 2014 and October 17, 2014, revenues from sales of collected bottles total $151,730.00.

The next depots to be opened are slated for the Corporate Area and Manchester.