There’s no wine in the bottle; the beer is finished, too; and all that’s left of that can of Diet Coke is about 15 grams of aluminium. Now the journey begins for the empties at Camana Bay.
“We recycle them,” says Jesper Callisen, manager of West Indies Wine Company. “Bottles, cans and even the cardboard boxes.” From the West Indies Wine Company shop on The Paseo, the recyclable materials go to specifically marked bins in one of the Camana Bay trash storage areas. The bottles and cans are then sent to the recycling facility, just south of the Town Centre.
The recycling centre serves as a depot for materials coming from the public recycling bins on Solaris Avenue. Cayman’s Department of Environmental Health also brings to Camana Bay the glass bottles and jars that it collects at other public recycling collection centres on Grand Cayman.
There, the glass is put into a glass crushing machine which reduces the bottles and jars to small particles, some as small as grains of sand. Chip Ogilvie, Dart Real Estate’s Director of Property Operations, says the glass-crushing machine is usually active every morning during the work week.
“It can process 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of glass every day,” he says. Because empty glass bottles and jars contain air spaces, crushing them reduces their volume by 80 percent. However, the crushed glass is not simply taken to the landfill; it’s instead stored in small piles next to the recycling facility and then sold to entities that might want to buy it. One such entity is Flowers Block, which mixes the crushed glass material with aggregate to produce concrete pavers.
Pavers, in grey and blue colours made in part with the crushed glass, were used for the walking and bike paths at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa. Ogilvie says their benefit goes beyond just adding to the many sustainable materials used on the project.
“Using the pavers at Kimpton Seafire not only supports a local business, but it also adds genuine interest for our resort guests and condo owners, all of whom will use the walking and bike trail network,” he says. “It’s also just the right thing to do for the environment as it diverts waste from going to the landfill and puts it to good use. It is estimated that 66 million glass bottles come to the Cayman Islands each year and this recycling effort is currently diverting a little less than three million of them.”