Whether you own or are renting a home, making environmentally-friendly choices will help preserve our beautiful Island and help you to have a far more sustainable, eco-friendly living space.
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There are lots of little things that can be done at home to help you and your family live more greenly. From recycling and reusing where possible, to installing greener household appliances - there's lots of ways to protect Cayman's future from home.
With each resident in Cayman adding around 2,775lbs of waste to ‘Mount Trashmore’ each year, it is essential that we all strive to reduce, recycle, reuse and refuse our waste. All the major supermarkets on the Island now sell reusable woven shopping bags and charge 5¢ per plastic bag. They still offer plastic produce bags in the fruit and vegetable aisles and these are ending up in the landfill by the thousands. Boycott Styrofoam – it cannot be recycled and is one of the biggest culprits of ocean pollution. Say no to single-use plastics, such as shopping bags, plastic produce bags, plastic straws, utensils, and disposable coffee cups. Buy mesh produce bags for fruit and vegetable purchases, reusable coffee cups and glass/stainless steel straws. Reusable straws are available at Jessie’s Juice Bar, Foster’s, Kirk Home Centre and Kirk Market.
Reducing the amount of waste we personally generate ultimately reduces the amount of waste we send to the landfill.
There are currently seven recycling depots; six of which are located at the Island’s three major supermarkets. The seventh and newest depot is located on the grounds of the North Side Civic Centre.
Residents can recycle the following items at each of these locations:
a) paper and cardboard,
b) clean metal food cans (tin and aluminium)
c) glass bottles and ceramic dishes
d) PET/PETE and HDPE plastics (#1 and #2).
Be sure to check the bottom of containers for codes such as PET, PETE and HDPE or the 1 and 2 symbols. Read the signs at each depot and follow the instructions carefully. Remember to separate your waste at source. Make sure everything has been rinsed out and is clean, and don’t put plastic wrappers, plastic bags and cling wrap in with the #1 and #2 plastics. It is essential that no additional waste items are disposed of in recycling bins as they contaminate the recyclables and could cause them to be landfilled.
As mentioned previously you can also get JUNK to help make your recycling easier. They will collect from your home or office all of your recyclables including plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminium and tin cans on a weekly basis, and their quick and easy recycling service is cost-effective and benefits the customer and the environment by diverting dry waste away from the George Town Landfill. Their mission is to promote recycling and provide waste management services to protect our fragile island environment for present and future generations. Junk offers recycling collection services for offices, retail, commercial, residential, strata, hospitality and health and wellness centres. Junk also does single event recycling. From as little as CI$50 per month for weekly collections, they provide labelled “stackable” recycle bins that can be used in office buildings and by households. They also offer various sizes of larger bins, for external use and kerbside collection. Junk will then collect your recyclables, transport them to the Recycle Center where they are re-sorted, crushed and baled, then placed into containers and shipped to waste management partners in the USA. Junk services over 150 customers in Grand Cayman including several Government offices, CUC, Ernst&Young, Health City, The Ritz Carlton, Cracked Conch, Grand Old House, Rum Point Club, Wyndham Reef Resort, The Avalon, George Town Villas, One Capital Place, Cricket Square, St. Ignatius, Cayman Prep, Cayman International School, individual residential homes and many more.
Contact JUNK on Sales (345) 925 4374, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Operations (345) 325 5865 or email@example.com. If you have old electronic equipment, such as computers, keyboards, and cables, E-Waste Cayman Islands Ltd Electronic Recycling (Tel: (345) 916 6467) will collect them and recycle it. Fees to collect electronic waste range from USD$45 to USD$175, depending on the nature of collection. Visit their website www.ewaste.ky for a full list of fees.
Please do your part in keeping Cayman's environment green and free from toxic material. Everyone should aim to use rechargeable batteries. Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel, which can contaminate the environment if not properly disposed of.
Cayman’s Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has introduced small blue collection containers where used batteries can be dropped off (visit the Recycling Locations page). The batteries are then shipped off to a recycling facility overseas.
You can place your used household batteries (e.g. from computer, camera, flashlight, toys, and cell phone) in any of the collection bins located at all supermarkets, including Foster's, Priced Right, Kirk’s and Cost-U-Less.
Please do not put any batteries in the regular garbage bins!
There are many environmentally responsible choices for household appliances. There are companies in Cayman that sell a range of appliances that run on propane - the cleanest fuel-based source of energy in the Cayman Islands.
As well as being kinder to the environment, propane-fuelled appliances are far more economical to run than electric ones. Both companies offer home delivery for all sizes of propane tanks and their friendly staff work with customers throughout the whole process of designing, installing and maintaining your propane system. Both companies can also offer propane to power outdoor appliances such as tiki torches, water heaters and grills.
See the propane providers on-Island below.
Green Cleaning Products
Environmentally-friendly cleaning products are becoming more common in Cayman’s stores. These green products clean just as well as their harsh chemical-laden counterparts, but are made entirely out of natural ingredients which are non-toxic, free of phosphates, fillers, fragrance, chlorine, dyes and NPE. They are not tested on animals, nor do they contain animal additives. Another added benefit of these green products is that they are far better for the septic tank systems that most homes in Cayman have. Foster’s and Kirk Market lead the market in supplying safe cleaning products.
Eco Dry Cleaning
When you need dry cleaning done on Grand Cayman, Island Cleaners (Tel: (345) 949 5391) and Puritan Cleaners (Tel: (345) 949 7104) are both eco-friendly companies that use environmentally safe dry cleaning products, recycle hangers and offers a same day service, if needed. Fluff ‘N’ Fold (Tel: (345) 943 5833) in Camana Bay also uses energy-efficient equipment, non-toxic chemicals and recycling programmes to reduce their impact on the environment.
Top Tips for Being Green
Small choices can make a difference so here are some ways you can reduce your impact on Cayman's fragile environment:
- Purchase reusable bags to take with you to the grocery store
- Purchase food and cleaning items in bulk
- Buy glass food containers and reuse them
- Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products
- Take your own reusable containers when you get takeaway food
- Use your own reusable cups for your daily coffee or smoothie
- Avoid disposable cutlery
- Choose eco-friendly cleaning products
- Avoid toiletries that contain microbeads
- Swap to non-plastic alternatives e.g. a bamboo toothbrush or a mooncup
- Avoid products with palm oil
- Drink Flowers Bottled Water or tap water, which is perfectly safe, and use refillable bottles. Consider installing a ‘City Water Filter’ from www.ionfaucet.com to remove the chlorine from tap water
- Be mindful of water usage and install a ‘low flow’ shower head to save water
- Use a drying rack or clothesline to dry clothes, rather than a dryer
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load
- Set the A/C thermostat at the highest temperature you feel comfortable with
- Conserve energy by turning off lights, fans and electronic equipment when not in use.
- Use rechargeable batteries
- Recycle newspapers and towels by taking them to the Humane Society and donate magazines to the hospital
- Recycle old printers and laptops by donating them to schools or charities.
- Return clothes hangers to dry cleaners
- Take second hand clothes to the Humane Society, One Dog At A Time or the Red Cross
- Share rides, use public transportation, walk or cycle when possible
- Compost where possible
You can also join Plastic Free Cayman and take their 345 Pledge for Individuals which provides a guideline and suggests easy switches you can make to help you reduce plastic waste. Find them on Facebook or visit their website: www.plasticfreecayman.com.
Being a Green Family
In order for your kids to value the importance of recycling, you must lead by example. The more fired-up you are about recycling, the more interested they will likely be about participating. Kids should feel recycling is an exciting way to help protect the Earth! If you plan on making recycling a regular chore for your kids, incentivise it by rewarding them with fun activities such as trips to the beach or park. Take some time when you visit the beach to pick up some trash and help keep Cayman looking beautiful.