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Igniting Change

Igniting Change
Waste management takes shape in CGB

Moments after glassblower Jacob Barron shoved a large steel rod with a burning newspaper into a five-foot-tall, cylinder-shaped concrete furnace, it began to hum.
“You hear that noise?” he asked, “Now that’s a good noise. You gotta love that hum.”   

The steady purr of the furnace signifies months of hard work and planning; donations from local businesses; and a changing leaf for waste management options and education in the BVI. The propane-fuelled furnace will remain lit under a three-month donation from SOL BVI.    


The glass furnace building, located across from Myett’s in Cane Garden Bay, now acts a studio where creative and practical items are designed out of the glass bottle waste provided by local restaurants and residents. Additionally, the studio will also serve as a school for four local apprentices and for visitors and residents who would also like to try their hands at glass blowing. Currently, artistic jewellery and crafts are on display and for sale at the Cane Garden Bay location. The items created from the project will also be sold throughout Cane Garden Bay—and eventually across the BVI—at various retail outlets.
When I visited the studio last month for the lighting and christening of the furnace, Jacob explained to me that they will also sell their items directly from the studio—a location already frequented by curious cruise ship passengers. Proceeds will largely go to fund the project, and other like projects spearheaded by the Green VI, the non-profit foundation leading the push on environmental sustainability in the BVI.
Green VI’s executive director, Charlotte McDevitt, explained to me that the glass furnace project is their main fundraiser—one she’s confident will shed an optimistic light on recycling options for the BVI.
“We want to prove that waste is viable,” she said, “by demonstrating that glass can be used in so many different ways.”
Outside the studio, soft-edged sea glass provides a pathway to the studio and adds decoration in the surrounding landscape. The addition to the studio’s exterior is the product of some 80 cubic yards, or about 20,000 collected bottles. Those bottles were then taken to Tortola Concrete Limited, a Green VI sponsor, where they were crushed and compacted to eight cubic yards, then tumbled to their final sea glass state—three cubic yards.
“That’s massive,” Charlotte said of the process, “to think that all this [sea glass] came from all those bottles. And that’s what we want to do—demonstrate that it is possible.”
Ideally, Charlotte said she’d like to see the studio act as an educational facility where schoolchildren will visit and learn about the feasibility of recycling and waste management for the territory.
“They’d first go through Pockwood Pond,” she said, “then we’d want them to come here and we want them to really understand what’s done with their waste—to see that there’s better ways to handle it.”

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