14 March 2022

Trash Talk: Scoring a winner for waste

Sharp-eyed football fans will have spotted the news that the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism has signed a deal to become the official sponsor of Portsmouth Football Club.

The club and the city of Portsmouth share a vibrant maritime heritage with the Cayman Islands, and the new sponsorship is designed to boost tourism to our islands.

But seafaring and tourism aren’t the only things that link the Cayman Islands and the city on England’s south coast. There’s also a connection when it comes to how we treat our waste.

Portsmouth is in Hampshire, a county that has been part of the pioneering Project Integra, one of Europe’s largest waste management projects.

Project Integra is a joint initiative that started in 1993 and involves the county council, the unitary authorities of Portsmouth and Southampton, the 11 district councils of Hampshire and the waste management company Veolia.

Just as in the Cayman Islands, household waste in Hampshire traditionally had been landfilled, but these sites were running out of space. Instead of landfilling, three energy-recovery facilities have been developed to turn the waste into electricity, including the Marchwood facility pictured. Our own ReGen facility is designed to resolve the same issue at the George Town Landfill.

Project Integra also includes a well-established kerbside recycling system, where residents separate materials like glass bottles, cans, plastic and paper into dedicated bins. The material that can’t be recycled is collected and used to generate electricity.

The system is supported with 1,600 recycling depots across the county. The network of depots also caters for other materials including clothes and books, and 26 household waste recycling centres throughout Hampshire take bulky materials such as furniture.

Having been in operation for almost 30 years, Project Integra clearly demonstrates what’s possible with a well-planned approach to waste management. Integra has stopped most waste going to landfill and steadily increased recycling rates.

In Cayman, ReGen is designed to divert most of our trash from going to the landfill and increase recycling rates for materials such as metal, for which there’s international demand. The planned project facilities include:

These integrated components will work together to deliver sustainable waste management, promote the international waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, dispose) and prevent the majority of our waste from being landfilled.

Next time you’re watching football, have a think how you could score a winner for our environment by doing a bit more recycling.

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