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We Recycle!

Waste as Resources

The good news in recycling is that the works in progress before the 2017 storms are now back on track. Most of the forward motion is happening in Virgin Gorda, where a recycling pilot based on partnerships will guide us to what ‘best practice’ can be used for a recycling system for all the British Virgin Islands. The pilot is rich and innovative as it considers waste streams such as glass, plastic, and aluminium to be sources of marketable products for use on-island or for export. Insert image 3: We Recycle!


Partnerships are critical to the success of recycling, and so donors, who also work in close collaboration, supported Green VI’s initiative early last year of a recycling committee. This brings together the BVI Department of Waste Management, local recyclers, sponsors, and other stakeholders to help create true coalition and unity of purpose.


As recycling success depends heavily on collection and transport to processing sites, the Department of Waste Management is an important partner in the recycling pilot. They will collect recyclables and derelict vehicles and facilitate some transport of these from the sister islands. Insert Image4: Derelict vehicles to be recycled


In tandem with its established education and outreach programmes, Green VI will continue to promote and nurture the growing number of recycling partners, and will also implement long-term funding mechanisms, such as a Green Fee and a Bottle Bill, to ensure sustainability of the recycling system. Thanks to Unite BVI’s seed funding and diligent advocacy, other generous donors have made grants available through Green VI to catalyse the system, including loans to entrepreneurs.

Recycling Entrepreneurs

As a result, Green & Clean VI Ltd. on Virgin Gorda, who has been crushing glass to make aggregate for BVI roads and such for the past five years, now has additional equipment to speed up this process, bale aluminium cans, and other recyclables, as well as clean vegetable oil for use as a biofuel. VI Plastics on Tortola, another entrepreneur given support, will soon be making furniture from discarded plastic, expanding to the manufacture of polywood, which can be used to make a variety of products. Green VI and Unite BVI hope to assist more entrepreneurs to create businesses based on the resources of waste.

The Virgin Gorda Community

The Virgin Gorda Community has begun organising clean-ups, sorting their recyclables and some schools, such as Valley Day, and with guidance from Green & Clean VI Ltd., have begun composting organic resources.

Cleaning Up

BugOut is a community-driven initiative, facilitated through Green VI, to protect the Virgin Gorda community from diseases such as Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, and West Nile Virus spread by Aedes aegypti mosquito. Ground crews facilitate clean-ups and reduce standing-water breeding sites; particularly difficult work since the storms. But through hands-on community participation, integrated management strategies, and new technology, the mosquito population has been reduced and held in check.

Recycling Bins

To replace the Department of Waste Management’s storm-lost recycling bins on Virgin Gorda, an attractive and functional prototype has been artfully made locally from used wooden pallets. As more recycling points are established, bins of varying types and sizes will be used, depending on the location.

Recycling Bags

Made of a unique polymer that bacteria eat, these bags—although plastic—can biodegrade in landfills and in Anaerobic Digesters. They’re also 100% recyclable. Additionally, they’re infused with mint and citronella, so vectors are repelled. The bags will be used for community clean-ups, recycling projects, and the new Adopt-A-Spot Programme. Insert image 8 of recycling bags

Expansion & Eco-Park

The Recycling Committee is working on plans to expand recycling to all the British Virgin Islands, with Unite BVI and Green VI actively fundraising and forming more partnerships. The ultimate vision for Virgin Gorda is to move toward zero waste and eliminate open burning at the dumpsite, through an Eco-Park project that converts the current dump site into a hive of various activities that transform waste resources into useful, locally made products; providing a rich environment for growing more BVI businesses. Insert image 9 of Eco-Park

What Can You Do?

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! Use reusable shopping bags and water bottles, buy only what you need, participate in clean-ups, Adopt a Spot, green your event, compost, and recycle!

For more information on the above and to find out what and where you can recycle, visit greenvi.org.

Charlotte McDevitt

Charlotte McDevitt

Executive Director at Green VI
Charlotte is the executive director of Green VI, a non-profit organisation that works toward a greener, cleaner and healthier BVI, finding balance between development and conservation of the natural environment.
Charlotte McDevitt
Charlotte McDevitt

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