Two young men determined to see the British Virgin Islands become a sustainably enviro-safe nation have channelled their vision into an inspiring business venture.
Shavoy Samuels and Gavin Baird have partnered to establish Alkebulan Minds Recycling Incorporated — a local startup company that offers waste removal services whilst generating a profit through the collection of recyclable items that are then sterilized, repackaged, and exported.
The duo said they were moved to start the business after realising the largely-overlooked dangers associated with the territory’s heavy reliance on the importation of goods.
“The mere fact that we are a country of importation means we would have a higher level of garbage accumulation than a country that is recycling [the various plastic and glass containers that they package their goods in],” Baird explained.
Currently, the BVI incinerates most of the garbage it accumulates, but Baird believes there are numerous environmental and public health issues associated with incineration.
“On record, [the BVI] burns over 80 tonnes a day so you could imagine what they (the Department of Waste Management) are collecting daily,” Baird told BVI News.
“Recycling, therefore, has been our life’s mission. Instead of ridiculing what’s going on, we need to have a part to play in the change and that’s where our business concept really came about,” the 31-year-old said, adding that he now hopes to decrease the territory’s incineration levels.
“Maybe the only real way to curtail it (incineration) is to go to the sources of waste — the residents and the business places. So, when we decrease the influx of garbage, then we go about the decrease of what’s burning,” the young entrepreneur explained.
Baird and his business partner Samuels told BVI News they still have a considerable distance to go to build their business and one of the first steps is to acquire a second pickup truck so they can expand their recycling enterprise.
First local recycling factory
As for more long-term ambitions, the young businessmen have hopes of errecting a recycling factory in the BVI.
The factory would create bi-products of recyclable items such as plastic and glass, Baird explained.
“With creating a recycling plant, we create jobs, we are creating a whole new industry and, at that point, we can decrease the level of importation and, in turn, have a viable, affordable product,” Baird said.
“We are going to utilise the same opportunities that an international recycling corporation would utilise.”
Alkebulan recycling, in the meantime, charges a fee to collect waste in the territory’s residential and business communities.
But, owners of the startup company are already proposing to donate some their services in the interest of local tourism.
The duo said they plan to provide a not-for-profit cleanup of seven of the BVI’s major beaches.
“This will also provide an opportunity for tourists to come and see where we’re going in the BVI,” said Baird, who noted that Alkebulan recycling is offering free services to the Ghetto/Crabbe Lot community.
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