Whether you own or are renting a home, making environmentally friendly choices will help preserve Cayman for generations to come.
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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.
While no formal legislation exists to make recycling a requirement, people in Cayman are taking steps to reduce, recycle, reuse and refuse. The more we learn about how waste impacts our health and the health of our planet, the more proactive we need to be in managing our waste.
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 to minimise 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, Fosters, 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 & 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.
Once collected, the materials are transported to the recycling building at the landfill, where they are sorted into material types, baled into compressed cubes and shipped by container to the US where they are sold to recycling facilities. Glass and ceramics are crushed locally by Dart and reused as aggregate. Old tyres are also shredded and used in housing construction. In addition, every January the DEH collects natural Christmas trees and recycles them. The mulch that they create is then offered to the public for free.
Residents and businesses can use also use JUNK who offers an on-site recycling service. They operate large recycling bins in many apartment complexes and offices collecting aluminum, glass, plastic, cardboard and paper (which must be dry and not waxed). All the glass that JUNK collects is crushed on-Island and used in a variety of ways. There is a fee for this service which depends on the number of units and number of collection days. Camana Bay, Grand Pavilion, Cricket Square and Citrus Grove all have a complex-wide recycling programme. For those who live in private houses, or in a complex that does not recycle, JUNK also offers smaller collection bins called “Stackables” which you can store inside or outside your home for your own personal recycling. Starting at CI$50 per month, JUNK will come and collect your recyclables on a weekly basis. As a special offer to readers of the Cayman Resident, JUNK is graciously offering a set of stackables at CI$99 (regular price: $110). Just mention the Cayman Resident magazine when placing your order. Once JUNK has collected all the recyclable materials, they are baled at its facility in Grand Cayman and shipped to Sun Recycling in South Florida. Some plastics aren’t recycled at present, but JUNK still bales and sends them to Sun, where they are charged a tipping fee for the plastic to be properly disposed of. Though this costs JUNK money, they are more than happy to do it, knowing that it is best for Cayman’s environment. Since November 2014, JUNK has diverted more than a million pounds of plastics, cardboard/paper, aluminium cans and glass away from the George Town landfill! JUNK also recycles E-waste (Redundant IT Products) and printer cartridges via their sister company Cartridge Smart. If you have a large amount of waste, you can call JUNK and they will always remove whatever is recyclable. JUNK Recycling and Removals can be reached at (345) 325 5865, email email@example.com or www.junk.ky.
If you have old electronic equipment, such as computers, keyboards, and cables, Cayman Islands Ltd. Electronic Recycling (Tel: (345) 916 6764) will collect them for free and recycle it.
For more information on how you can do your part and make Cayman a greener place, visit Recycle! Cayman.
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.
Where possible everyone should be using rechargeable batteries. Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel, which contaminate the environment when improperly 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 Fosters, 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, with all the major supermarkets now stocking a range of brands. 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, Puritan Cleaners (Tel: (345) 949 7104) and Island Cleaners (Tel: (345) 949 5391) are both good examples of eco-friendly businesses 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. You can also join Plastic Free Cayman for their monthly beach clean ups, or take their 345 Pledge for Individuals, where you commit to making changes, like refusing a plastic straw or switching to a bamboo toothbrush, to reduce your single-use plastic waste. Find Plastic Free Cayman on Facebook or visit their website.