The nonprofit Island Green Living Association in partnership with Michigan-based recycler PADNOS officially launched their program to jumpstart the recycling of single-use plastics on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Ocean-Bound Plastics Recycling Program, a first for the island, will allow rinsed #1 PET, #2 HDPE, and #5 polypropylene plastics to be reclaimed and recycled.

U.S. Rep. Stacey Plaskett, Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., and territorial Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory joined Island Green Living President Harith Wickrema and executive Director Kelly McKinney at the ribbon cutting.

“With the help of our governor, Department of Education, and our elected officials, we can spread the message of the importance of source separation and emulate the best practices of a sustainable circular community,” Wickrema says.

“The circular economy is the future,” McKinney adds. “We must start thinking about the end of a product’s life in a more sustainable manner than sitting unproductively in a landfill. Recycling is an important cog in the wheel of sustainable materials management. Single-use plastics should be avoided but once plastic is part of the waste stream, the Ocean-Bound Plastics Recycling Program aims to mitigate and reclaim this material that would otherwise pollute our territory’s waterways and overwhelm our landfills.”

Island Green Living can accept numbers 1, 2, and 5 plastics, which include items such as water and soda bottles (with caps separated but included), some food containers, peanut butter jars, milk jugs, shampoo and detergent bottles, yogurt containers, and more. Styrofoam and items like plastic utensils, bags, etc., cannot be accepted. The plastics will be sorted and baled and then shipped to PADNOS, a fourth-generation, family-owned recycling partner, where the raw materials will gain a new lease on life.

PADNOS will buy and transport all aluminum and plastics collected by Island Green Living. The plastics will be transported on deadheaded shipping containers—containers that otherwise would have returned empty—when possible. “We are honored to be representing PADNOS at this dedication,” says Gary Barnett, director of plastics at PADNOS. “Since 1905, PADNOS has been living our purpose statement: Continue to find ways to innovate, lead, and make a positive impact in this world. Today is no different.”

PADNOS provided Island Green Living with a baler that’s retrofitted inside a converted shipping container, so the processing operation is fully self-contained. The company also contributed toward a new pick-up truck and will soon supply bins that will be placed at key WMA trash sites throughout the island. Island Green Living will start regular collection of plastics and aluminum at these locales in the next several weeks.

The community can also drop off recyclables now at Island Green Living’s site, which has served for years as a collection point for aluminum cans. Additionally, the organization is offering a paid pick-up service to local bars and restaurants.

PADNOS also has announced the launch of a new product, PADNOS Ocean™. For more information visit the company’s website.

Photo courtesy of Island Green Living. Caption: St. John, USVI – February 18, 2022 – Island Green Living launches Ocean-Bound Plastics Recycling with PADNOS. In attendance for official Ribbon-Cutting ceremony from left to to right: Senator Steven D. Payne; Island Green President Harith Wickrema; Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett; Governor Albert Bryan Jr.; Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory; Island Green Living Executive Director Kelly McKinney; Gary Barnett, Director of Plastics, PADNOS.