Government and contractor Island Recycling Ltd have finally signed on the dotted line to begin the removal of the mountain of tyres at the George Town landfill, some two months after the contract was originally announced by Premier Hon Alden McLaughlin.
The Ministry of Health, in a media statement on Tuesday (16 August), announced the signing of the contract.
Premier and Minister for Health, Hon Alden McLaughlin, in the statement, said the contract is just one component of the overall project to provide the Cayman Islands with a long term solution for the country’s solid waste issues, and to create a proper integrated solid waste management system. The Premier explained the recycled waste tyres will be used as “fill” in development projects around the island. In addition to the shredding and recycling of the waste tyres, the Department of Environmental Health has undertaken a number of efforts to continuously improve solid waste management in the Cayman Islands.
“One of the things we are very excited about is that this process is entirely in keeping with our objective of reusing and recycling waste products. The Tyre Derived Aggregate (TDA), which will be produced as a result of this process, will be reused for construction over the course of the years to come in local projects,” Mr McLaughlin said on the statement.
Health Councillor Roy McTaggart, who has been overseeing the process, told The Cayman Reporter on Tuesday (16 August) that work on clearing the tyres stockpiled at the dump will begin soon.
“I am really delighted that we have gotten to the point now where we have signed a contract and we can now start to proceed to have this dealt with,” Mr McTaggart said.
While he said work on preparing the site to begin shredding has already started Mr McTaggart admitted it is going to take a bit more time for the contractor, Island Recycling and their international partner Guernsey Recycling, to get their equipment ready to begin shredding.
“It is going to be up to three or four months or up to 16 weeks in order to get going so I mean literally down to the end of the year but I spoke to the principles yesterday (Monday 15 August) Mr Jason Brown and he assured me they will do everything they can to shorten that up and get started as quickly as they could do because they are keen to get started on the contract as quickly as they can do it has been over a year so sometime between now and the end of the year,” Mr McTaggart said.
The contractor, he said, has equipment that has to be brought in from the US to process the material “so it is really going to deal with an issue that has been a thorn in our flesh for many years and it would be great to see it finally dealt with and have the material off site. It is going to give the Department of Environmental Health a little more room for maneuvering to with the site and the space is much needed as they move forward.”
Island Recycling Ltd., and its international business partner, were selected by the Ministry of Health and Culture, through the Central Tenders Committee process, for the project, the media statement said.
Island Recycling Managing Director Jason Brown said the company’s goal is to deliver a safe, successful and environmentally friendly recycling project that will be professionally completed, the release stated.
“We are grateful for the opportunity. We know we have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we’re ready to meet the challenge of turning the large stockpiles of waste tyres into re-suable TDA” Mr Brown stated in the release.
Mr Brown said the company has some experienced tyre recycling experts coming from its overseas business partner, but emphasised that this project will also create local employment and the transfer of new recycling skills.
“I think this is a win-win situation not only for the government, but for the people of the islands in terms of the way that we’re choosing to process the tyre materials, making it a TDA, meaning that it can be recycled and used on island versus the expense of export,” he explained.
Ironwood Development has agreed to use the TDA in its Arnold Palmer gold course project.
Mr Brown, according to the release, said once the required specialised recycling plant and equipment arrives on island, work will commence immediately and they hope to start processing tyres within four months.
When they have moved onto their waste tyre processing site on the landfill, Island Recycling estimate it will take them approximately 11 months to shred the tyres currently stockpiled at the landfill.
Councillor McTaggart, in the release, said the used tyres will be processed and removed from the site in an efficient and timely manner to reduce various risks.
“Everyone knows it’s been a safety hazard for us, in terms of potential fires at the landfill, as we’ve had in the past. Used tyres are also a preferred breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti mosquito which carries the Zika virus, as well as dengue fever and chikungunya,” he said.
“These issues that are significant to government and to the people of the Cayman Islands, and they are really going to be dealt with quite nicely once this is all done,” Mr McTaggart said.
He stressed that the signing of the contract was a significant step, and “at this point we’re happy to say now the project can move forward and all things are in gear. I think everyone wants to see this project dealt with once and for all.”
Premier McLaughlin agreed, adding, “The landfill is an issue and has been an issue for the country for many, many years, and while many people believe we are moving far too slowly, we are absolutely committed to developing a long term plan that creates a solution that will last the course of the next 50 years.”
It is expected that the Government owned and operated shredder, which was recently put back into service after it was down for repairs, will handle the shredding and disposal of all tyres dumped at the landfill.