Over the last ten years the amount of waste produced on the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has tripled – making projects that support local recyclers more vital than ever.

In response to this increase, and in alignment with Earth Day, Unite BVI and Green VI are launching a new recycling initiative: the Virgin Gorda Recycling Pilot.

A key characteristic of the project, and a defining difference between it and traditional recycling methods, lies in its ‘local application’ design. This design feature addresses one of the main hurdles making present-day BVI recycling so challenging – the distance between where the ‘waste production’ takes place and where the recycling markets are positioned. For the majority of recyclables, the value of the materials received will not cover the basic costs of collection, processing and shipping. 

Virgin Unite, Unite BVI, Recycling

Virgin Unite, Unite BVI, Recycling

The new Virgin Gorda Recycling Pilot will be supporting systems that make recycling easier and reframing ‘waste’ as a valuable resource material, which can be sustainably utilised on the island. To this end, Green VI, with the support of Unite BVI, have been working closely with Government and local community members, providing recyclers with equipment updates, funds to implement new processes, meetings with key government officials and promoting recycled products.

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In the upcoming months the Green VI team will be working to build an even stronger business case around the island’s recycling approach, hoping to then expand its application across all of the British Virgin Islands. And if all goes to plan, glass waste will soon become construction aggregate, plastic waste will become furniture and polywood and organic waste will become compost and an alternative energy source. 

When the necessary funds are secured, the Virgin Gorda Recycling Pilot will develop in the following phases:

  • The first phase will see the roll out of a new recycling collection system as well as the initiation of further community education and outreach.
  • The second phase will see the establishment of a Materials Recovery Facility at the Virgin Gorda dump site – glass, plastic, aluminium and used vegetable oil will be processed within this facility.
  • The third phase will see the management of organics – garden and food waste, sewage and sargassum. 

Virgin Unite, Unite BVI, Recycling

Virgin Unite, Unite BVI, Recycling

Virgin Gorda community members would eventually like to see the development of an Eco-Industrial Park (pictured below) that could transform the current dump site into a hive of activity – making waste into useful, locally made products and providing a rich environment for new BVI businesses.

Ultimately the team would like to move Virgin Gorda into zero-waste zone – eliminating open burning at the Virgin Gorda dumpsite and catalysing a large-scale recycling movement across the BVI.

If you’re passionate about catalysing recycling across the BVI please donate to the foundation today.