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HomeNewsLocal newsPhoto Focus: Alpha Kappa Alpha Helps Boost Recycling on St. John

Photo Focus: Alpha Kappa Alpha Helps Boost Recycling on St. John

A number of community groups have joined the effort to trim the territory’s waste stream. This weekend members of a local sorority lent a hand to a neighboring nonprofit on the island of St. John.

Ten members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Sigma Theta Omega Chapter brought large bags of empty gallon water jugs and other containers to the Island Green Living Center on Gifft Hill. They were joined by a handful of relatives and concerned neighbors.

Alpha Kappa Alpha after a productive day. (Photo by Judi Shimel)

Island Green Living Association has encouraged the St. John community to recycle aluminum cans and plastic containers. “Right now we are getting a mix of 48 percent of what we recycle is coming from the community. Fifty-two percent is coming from the restaurants, bars, and other places we’ve made connections with to collect. We’re only capturing about 25 percent of the plastics we are generating here on the island, so there is certainly more we could be doing,” said Recycling Program Manager Jay Bowman.

Jay Bowman chats with a weekend volunteer. (Photo by Judi Shimel)

Chapter President Deysha Todman said Saturday’s efforts were part of the group’s Re-use, Recycle Initiative. But she added that bags of trash delivered to the recycling center represented the efforts of all chapter members.

“There are 77 sorors in the chapter, and we have approximately 50 that live on island. This is being carried about by all 50 chapter members to collect in the community with their friends and family,” Todman said.

Making the delivery was only part of the job, and Bowman said, part of the Island Green Saturday task list.

“What they brought was what we sorted on the table this morning because they had to make sure it was counted. Once it was separated into either Plastic No. 1, No. 2, or No. 5, we brought them over to the bailer where we made bales of the plastic. Once we’ve run out of everything that they’ve brought then we started doing the materials we had collected. That’s when we start separating out garbage, making sure lids are removed and separating plastic from the trash,” Bowman said.

Sorors sorting it out. (Submitted photo)

Island Green President Hairith Wickrema encouraged residents and visitors who want to deposit used plastics at one of St. John’s two Waste Management Convenience Centers to help those who sort and process collectibles by removing caps before dropping them off. He added that recyclables mixed with household trash slow handlers down.

Laurel Hewitt-Sewer loads the compactor with help from Akimo Williams. (Photo by Judi Shimel)

Posting flyers and making public announcements brought in offers to help with plastics collection, Todman said.

Soror Julice Holder and recycling technician Akino Williams roll out compacted recyclables. (Submitted photo)

“We planned initially to collect 1,908 bottles, but within our first collections, we surpassed that by 1,000. We started our first collection in October for our first set of collections. We did our first count in the middle of November, and once we count those collections, between what we started from in late October till that collection, we were over by 22,049 bottles,” she said.

That means Sigma Theta Omega is now planning to deliver the remaining recyclables and collect more, the chapter president said.

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