Zero Waste Society

Zero waste means setting a new goal for how we live in Jamaica – one that aims to reduce what we trash in landfills to zero – and to rebuild our local economies in support of community, health, sustainability and justice. Adopting a zero waste approach to resource management is critical to the future of our planet.


Zero waste means setting a new goal for how we live in Jamaica:

reduce what we trash in landfills to zero and

rebuild our local economies in support of community, health, sustainability and justice. Adopting a zero waste approach to resource management is critical to the future of our planet.


Is this achievable in Jamaica? Why not. Jamaica is a tiny island with less than 3 million inhabitants. If the youngsters are well educated and see the benefits of green living then anything is possible. The government may be a signatory to the climate change agreement but you wouldn't believe it. Has the PM's estate got solar panels? I haven't seen any solar panels on the new hotels in town and the new school building down the road has a fancy curved roof. The people owe the energy supplier US$35 million for street lighting and we still don't have solar powered lights. 


Look at China: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/07/25/china-just-built-250-acre-solar-farm-shaped-giant-panda/#6b7657964685 . One panda could take over 200 schools off the grid. Jamaica is blessed with sunshine and cursed with backward looking and inept governance. Decades of it.


We should step in and create this industry for the country.

Environment

The ubiquitous plastic bottle....

I recently heard some shocking news. There is a small recycling company in Kingston - Recycling Partners Ltd. They recycle around 21 million plastic bottles per year. That sounds good, eh? Eeem, we produce around 500 million per year! Plastic waste is everywhere. As for glass bottles, cans and tins.... I assume that they earmarked for landfill. We must do something about this.


Due to the climate we throw away around a third of our food. Waste that doesn't make it to landfill is invariably illegally dumped or burnt. There are always plumes of smoke in the neighbouring hills of Montego Bay. In addition there is deforestation for charcoal production. What happens to the waste from animal farming? That is more feedstock.

Jobs

Renewables are the way forward and especially for Jamaica which is broke:

  • Permanent job creation.
  • Cheaper electricity which aids employment. 
  • Cheaper electricity results in more money in people's pockets which aids business.
  • Green energy and cleaner island aids tourism and equates to more jobs. 
  • All add revenue to the government. 

Small waste-to-energy plants could be all over the country. Along with solar, if these plants were run and managed for the people electricity bills could be lowered. Cheaper electricity cannot be achieved with the government's energy plans which are heavily dependent on LNG. Cheaper electricity aids employment. There is no need for me to explain the advantages of more people working. 


There is also the tourism aspect of the government's myopia to renewables. Many tourists are worried about their carbon footprint. If Jamaica was an island that was run on green energy that would be a massive selling point. Many tourists cannot afford ecotourism holidays so visiting a green island would be the next best thing. No guilt about your air conditioning if it is running on clean energy. Visitors to the Caribbean would put Jamaica towards the top of their list based on this. 

Also, because of the renewables industry the island and it's waters would be cleaner. Another selling point. More tourists equates to more revenue for the government. The next step would be the trickle down of tourist dollars to the man in the street but that isn't for this section. The point is that the tourism jobs that the government bangs on about would be created but they can't see that.


Biomass explanation: https://youtu.be/HZoPNJGi6ig


Trash to Energy: https://youtu.be/PB5JBd-SaDw


Large scale food waste in Australia https://youtu.be/YpY6G-ymqrA


Gasification explanation: https://youtu.be/bPRa31dS0vA


Overview of waste-to-energy: https://youtu.be/iioOVevReOs


Covanta waste-to-energy plant virtual tour: https://youtu.be/-KmTbHInScw


Largest waste-to-energy plant in the world to be built in China: https://youtu.be/ALhOIqZNkWk

Education

All schools should be solar powered

Here are two facts from the Global Citizen website that I am sure you are aware of:

  • Education promotes the understanding of social justice, interdependence, and identity, it is key to eradicating global poverty by 2030;
  • Over 40 years, equitable access to quality education can help a country raise its gross domestic product per capita by 23 percent.

One has to question the government's spending. The cost of solar energy production is continually decreasing, so much so that an investment at a school would pay for itself inside 5 years. 

From the bills I have seen a high school with around 2000 students can consume in the region of US$10000 of electricity per month. That money should be spent on books, computers, teachers, infrastructure etc. During the holidays the schools would make money by selling power to the grid. Solar powered schools sounds like sensible prudent investment for the country. 

Solar has minimal maintenance costs and certainly needs no management. The government's position is for private companies - their buddies some may argue - to make money from schools. The government does not like my proposed lease arrangement template: I am interested in students and not a return on investment! Yuh mad (kmt)! I don't think their policy shows that the country is open to business and is investor friendly. Far from it. It shows we can be exploited. I am waiting to see which companies view this as an ethical business opportunity. 


The PM's vision is one of schools training call centre workers. I can see the possibility of renewables funding IT training programs. Programs to create good IT literate staff with the aim to get IT based outsourced contracts, not debt collection. India has done it in the very lucrative banking sector. I know, I lost a contract to outsourcing. That work is now done in Mumbai. The beauty of IT is that it is based on aptitude. I retrained in IT and I am not a 'techie'. One of the best coders I worked with left school at 16. Some people may not be good in the classroom but wizards in front of a screen. There are many excellent online courses to aid such an initiative. The country cannot lose having an IT literate population.

Possibilities.....

  • Real and permanent job creation, not hirelings;
  • increased spending in schools, improved education and a chance to go to university;
  • solar street lighting so safer streets (the government owes around US$35 million to the energy supplier);
  • production of organic fertiliser and compost;
  • vast reduction in oil imports so saving precious foreign exchange;
  • continuous and permanent revenue stream;
  • improved waste management, less landfill and methane;
  • cleaner environment and recycling and 
  • reduced deforestation from charcoal production.