|One Jamaica Recycling Group: Young Visionaries in the Green Industry|
It’s such an obvious thing to say, but it bears repeating: times are hard, or, as we Jamaicans say, things well rough. Across the globe and in our beautiful island, persons have been losing jobs, left, right and centre. However, the young team at One Jamaica Recycling Group has found that within our local Green Industry there are opportunities.
E.C.C.O. Magazine recently sat down to chat with the One Jamaica Recycling Group Managing Director, Raul Haynes, and its Financial Director Daniel Cheeks. We journeyed to the company’s factory on Marcus Garvey Drive and listened as two 26 year olds shared their pride in being able to, together with Creative/Marketing Director Donisha Prendergast, contribute to the country’s recycling efforts.
E.C.C.O. Magazine: What do you do at One Jamaica Recycling?
Daniel: Recycling. We collect disposable waste, specifically plastic, aluminium, paper, cardboard, electronic equipment like old computers and printers in our own trucks from our clients’ locations. We bring the waste back here where we sort it first of all. Then, we run it through our operations and machines. From there we export it out of the island.
E.C.C.O.: What led you to start this organisation?
Raul: Visiting overseas, I saw an already established recycling industry. So I said to myself, you taking waste and selling it, it’s sustainable, and there are a lot of sub industries that can come about from going green. So I travelled doing research for about a month, got my business plan together and realised that our country more than ever as a tourist attraction needed to be clean. I felt that if the country would get to recycling 50% of the waste in the next five years we would see an immediate impact on the environment and the mentality of the people in depressed areas.
E.C.C.O.: What do you mean?
Raul: Where most of the solid waste is located you tend to find “human waste” or forgotten classes of people who don’t really have equal opportunity in the full sense of the word. So I felt that in a time where there’s a lot of social problems, this would help to motivate a cleaner, livelier thinking in the society and we have to get it from the root of the matter which is the same communities that we tend to burn rubbish in and poison; and burning rubbish, often that is 90% recyclable rubbish that can be exported out of the environment forever. So instead of burning and poisoning the people, and babies stepping in glass and getting asthma but because it is not publicised nobody takes the time to really investigate it, we could do something without going to the government, we could take the initiative and do something and the momentum would follow. And as young as we are in business we have a firm belief that we have to give back to the country before expecting something from the country.
E.C.C.O.: How did you get funding to start?
Daniel: It was financed through our own savings, funds from family and friends. To this date we have not received any grant funding.
Raul: We are about sustainability which is why we’ve taken the private approach as a limited liability company. From our research recycling companies can end up being overstretched and then when funding isn’t available from the government, it has a negative effect on the organisation. We want to be self sustaining and be able to provide employment without having to depend on funds from government or grants.
E.C.C.O.: Do you pay for recycling?
Raul: This is for our specific scavenger programmes which is another means of providing employment. We run this programme in Denham Town, Grange Farm, Forum, Braeton, Portmore, Hellshire, and Harbour View.
E.C.C.O.: How much recycling do you do each month?
Daniel: All together per month we recycle around 85 – 100 tonnes of all kinds of waste.
E.C.C.O.: What are your plans for the future?
Daniel: We plan to expand by upgrading our facilities and transportation networks to increase our capacity. We’ve begun a major residential push where we’ll be looking at stratas and residential areas and to support that we have a rewards programme where we award redeemable points to clients who give us their recycling. In the future we want to be able to place recycling bins and dumpsters in residential areas.
Raul: Our Creative/Marketing Director, Donisha Prendergast, is planning to stage several Green events to promote awareness about green matters and to raise funds for community development projects example the Majestic Garden Home Building Project will be having a concert that Tarrus Riley has endorsed. Donisha has an educational mission in partnership with United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) one of our strategic partners. We also plan for our website to be up fully operational very soon (www.onejamaicarecycling.com).
E.C.C.O.: How can people access your service?
One Jamaica appears to mean business and has partnered with URGE, Bob Marley Foundation, Spanish Town Citizens Against Gun Violence, and the UNIA to push forward their agenda. At the time of this interview they were in discussions with Digicel to begin a partnership in developing an islandwide recycling programme. The company is actively on the hunt for other socially responsible entities to partner with to show the rest of Jamaica that Kermit was wrong: it is in fact easy being green. With their passion for entrepreneurship, the environment, and making a difference, we expect that for them, this business of recycling other people’s trash will provide sparkling green (environmental and monetary) treasures.
Karen Hutchinson is going green and is the owner/operator of Jamaica Cultural Enterprises www.jaculture.com