EVERY plastic water bottle that gets thrown away could go toward keeping someone employed.
This is the basis of a plea for a better recycling culture from the environmental facility, It's Up To ME nvironmental—a Sea Lots-based non-governmental organisation that is struggling to stay afloat.
The facility employs a number of people from the community and is dependent on recyclable material, which is sorted at the compound and sent to various recycling plants internationally.
The facility got a boost yesterday when a group of students from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, USA, put in volunteer work at the compound as part of their international-service learning trip to Trinidad and Tobago.
This is third annual service trip hosted by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) in partnership with the University of Louisville.
After getting a tour of the facility by founder and president John Lewis, the students got to work painting signs and markings that are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Trinidad and Tobago. "This is a great experience and we love it here," said student Heather Riley, 23.
But keeping business going without funding is a daily challenge for Lewis, who started the outfit in 2010 with the ambitious intention to place 150,000 single-stream recycling bins in homes in the five regional districts of Diego Martin, San Juan/ Laventille, Tunapuna/ Piarco and Chaguanas.
It's a culture change Lewis hopes will take root once the bins are placed and people are educated on the different types of plastic and metal waste and the positive impact communities can have on the environment by streaming their garbage.
The facility itself employs nearly all its staff from the Sea Lots community and for the single mothers who work there, your trash is valuable.
The organisation now runs two recycling trucks which also pick up recyclable trash for free. Lewis is also pushing for the country to adopt the "curbside pick-up" method popular in the UK, where households place their recyclable trash on the curb for easy collection.
UTT is also hoping to partner with NP in the conversion of discarded oil drums into bins for differentiated-trash collection.
The public can call 624-00ME for more information on free pick-up service; or visit menvironmental.com.