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BVI FACT FILE

Breaking Glass for a Great Cause – Right here in the British Virgin Islands an entrepreneurial couple is realising the environmentally friendly economic opportunities that are available.  Courtney and Lorraine Tomlingson began recycling glass bottles just one year ago during the 2006 August Festival celebrations. After recognising how many glass bottles were constantly thrown in the garbage after drinks were consumed, Mr. Tomlingson said he was amazed that in the BVI almost no one recycled.

Realising the economic opportunities available for recycling products as seen in countries such as the USA, Canada and his home country of Jamaica, Mr. Tomlingson said the idea came almost naturally.  That was just the beginning of the Tortola based company, BVI Recycling.

After a few phone calls and online research, BVI Recycling was able to contact a Puerto Rico based company specialising in recycled glass.  After conversations with the company, the Tomlingsons’ company was awarded a contract to supply the company with 1000 tons of glass.  
With a sizeable contract in their hands, BVI Recycling contacted local bars and restaurants to supply them with all their glass bottles that would otherwise be thrown in the trash and left for the incinerator to melt.  Restaurants, bars and interested private residents can be offered separate disposal bins for glass bottles that are collected by BVI Recycling on schedule or when they are called.  

The Tomlingsons then separate collected glass bottles according to colours and bottles are then crushed at their Sea Cow’s Bay operations.  When recyling bottles, they are separated by colours.  During the initial manufacturing process, colour is added to glass for the desired colour.  The colour cannot be removed so green bottles can only be reused to make green bottles.

Bottles are then crushed in a special machine that breaks the glass down into varying sizes.  When the Tomlingsons reach their contracted weight of 1000 tons, the glass will then be shipped to Puerto Rico and they will begin collecting more bottles for a new shipment.  

Right now the couple solely recycles glass but sees the possibility of expanding their operations as their Puerto Rico based client is also interested in other recycled materials.  Mr. Tomlingson said recyling glass is something he can do while maintaining his full time job.  “Sometimes I start crushing glass at 4 in the morning, then after work then on the weekend.  It is a pretty simple process,”  he said.

While starting a small business, the Tomlingsons were able to help our planet.  Glass that is crushed is later melted to make new bottles.  Without recyled glass, manufacturers are forced to begin producing new glass utilising more raw materials and energy.  “When glass is made from scratch, high temperatures are needed to melt and combine all the ingredients. Since recycled glass melts at a lower temperature, the more of it you add to a batch of raw materials, the less energy you will need to melt it.”

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The online source also states, “recycling glass is not only cost-efficient; it benefits the environment in several ways. Glass produced from recycled glass instead of raw materials reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%.”

If you would like to contribute to the global effort of recycling, please contact BVI Recycling at 284 499-1808 or email lwheatley@hotmail.com to learn how you can begin recycling your glass bottles.

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