Minister Confirms Recycling Plant ‘Suspension’

March 4, 2015

Citing the need to create cost savings, Minister of Public Works Craig Cannonier this evening [Mar 4] confirmed the “suspension of operations” at the MRF Recycling Plant in Hamilton Parish.

According to a Government document [PDF] the Material Recovery Facility [MRF, aka the recycling centre] is where recyclables are sent for processing and are either shipped to the US recycling markets or used on-island.

Minister Cannonier said, “The Ministry of Public Works continues to work diligently at creating cost savings and fiscal efficiencies throughout the Ministry in an effort to reduce the national deficit. As such, the Ministry can confirm the suspension of operations at the Materials Recovery Facility [MRF].

“The MRF Recycling Plant was one of the programs that was a part of a list of cost cutting measures provided by the Government when Furlough Days were not an option. The MRF is not a money making entity and has not been running fiscally efficient for a number of years,” the Minister added.

“The Ministry is continuing to seek ways to offer waste management services to the public given the various budget cuts necessary to reduce the national deficit.”

The Minister said that keeping people working is foremost, and said the “proposed closure of the MRF will allow us to do a thorough review of the facility and the staff currently employed there. The Ministry will be redeploying staff in other areas within the Ministry.”

Update 9.05pm: We asked the Ministry for clarification about how this will impact recycling going forward, and can hopefully update with that information later on.

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Comments (72)

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  1. Family Man says:

    So are they still collecting recyclables on Fridays or do we just bag it all up for regular garbage collection?

    • were are we going says:

      Something is wrong now they are taking away Recycling got small trash truck all trash on two days are not been pickup because the truck are to small to fulfill those too days pick up now all trash no matter what? is to be put outside the road for the trash trucker to pick up More problem

      • inna says:

        I get your point, but have you ever heard of proofreading before submitting ?

    • Let's think about this... says:

      Let’s think about this… says:

      March 5, 2015

      Things I know the Materials Facility recycles: Car and Truck Batteries, Toner, Computers, Electronic Waste (Cell phones, speakers, TVs, things that has Mercury, Lead, Copper,and other chemicals), Tin, Alumninum and Gas.

      Where Bermuda used to put these things: Marsh Folly (yup that place was a real Marsh when my granny was little), The Airport Dump (yes in the water in Castle Harbour and covered with sand. And then we swim nearby and fish the marine life for eating….hmmmm

      Melting alumnimum and tin….causes problems to the mechanics of Tyne’s Bay, the Waste to Energy facility. Are we cutting one thing to drive up the cost and inefficiencies of another.

      April 1 I’m using my PATI rights to look at the evidence that was used to make this decision.

  2. Jennifer Flood says:

    So, we were told that bottles and cans sent to Tynes Bay causes problems because they often melt rather than burn away causing blockages on the conveyor belt and disruption to the flow. Now it doesn’t matter?

    This is such a retrograde step – Bermuda DOESN”T recycle? What sort of message are we sending. Does no one in Government care at all about the environment?? I feel very sorry for the personnel who have worked diligently at the MRF, reaching out to the public to educate about the value of recycling, holding open days, attending events to promote the message – they have been very active in promoting the value of recycling.

    We’ve spent far too many years trying to encourage recycling (it should be mandatory) to stop now.

    Why does the place need to close to review procedures?

    As for the “MRF is not a money making entity” – that’s a bit of joke – what part of Government Government services actually makes money? At least it does bring in a little foreign currency.

    • Greenie says:

      I am seriously starting to wonder if CC knows what he’s doing. First the Ag show, now this.

      • Cardine Alice says:

        Is he being punished for his past behaviour as he seems to hav einherited the Bad News and Bungles Department.

        • stunned... says:

          seriously, i thought we had gotten rid of flip-flop governing…jeesh

  3. Asa says:

    UNIONS SUCK!!!!!!!

    • Coffee says:

      Tell me again why Premier Dunkeley and Deputy Premier Bob Under The Hood love to deal with them ?

    • Mockingjay says:

      If it wasn’t for the Unions, you wouldn’t be getting the wages you’re getting and your benefits, @$$ hole.

      • hmmm says:

        That’s all well and good, but now they are holding the peoples future and the country’s future to ransom.

        A fair days work for a fair days pay. Stop the protecting of people who abuse that system. The union needs to step up in that regard.

        • Mockingjay says:

          So who is protecting the people when Govt. and Employers abuse the system.

          • Dees says:

            Mockingjay – you don’t get it do you? THE MONEY IS GONE! Squandered,misappropriated A government that cannot account for $800000000 is the cause of the many cuts coming our way. Brace yourself mate. Bottom line – THERE IS NO MONEY!

            • Ed Case says:

              If only BMA would get off their behinds and print loads more money – then they could just hand it out to the poor – and everyone would be rich.

            • Mockingjay says:

              Well it seems like they pulled $77 Million out of their *** for the sailboat race and paying Hanbury $1,000 a day. Dess

        • Aware BDA says:

          This mean that their will be more people out of a job were is all of this going to get money to run Bermuda

  4. sage says:

    Recycled minister.

  5. Tasha Fasha Masha says:

    Does this mean the eWaste drop off that is scheduled for this weekend is a no go?

  6. Tom Cooke says:

    When I visited my brother a couple of years ago, he lives in an upmarket part of outer Manchester where a lot of footballers live, there garbage is picked up every 2 weeks…. so to promote recycling. .. and we are cutting back… they should make it mandatory to recycle here to cut down on what goes to tyne bay…

    • hmmm says:

      That’s lovely…we do not have a recycling plant that turns recylable products into raw materials.

      As far as I’m aware, we squish it and ship it, apparantly for no money. So it’s a cost centre.

      Perhaps those who love the recycling can buy the facility and run it at a profit by changing the model.

      • Keep Bermuda Beautiful says:

        Please obtain the facts. The recycling centre bales and ships aluminium and steel cans and SELLS to a recycling facility in the States. Keeping items that DO NOT BURN out of the waste stream at the Tynes Bay incinerator is essential for the efficient operation of the facility. Otherwise the staff have to stop and rake out the “heavy ash” (metal and glass) that do not burn and clog up the grates. This heavy ash has to be boxed up and shipped to the States.

        Recycling will continue to be processed until March 31, so people should continue to put their recyclables out for collection, and turn in any e-waste (electronic waste) to the Tynes Bay plant this Saturday at the special E-Waste Day event.

  7. Sky Pilot says:

    and yet another place that could be Privatized!

    there is absolutely no need for this to be run be Government.

    • Yes please says:

      I agree, privatize this department. It will be better off

    • D.Smith says:

      @skypilot Can’t you see this is the first step to privatization… this Is a department that has the potential to turn profits with the current values of basic metals. I bet in another year we are gonna see how the multi million dollar facility has depreciated after not being used for 2015… who ever is geared up to take this over when the time come is gonna make a killing

      • Dees says:

        D.Smith – wish I could agree with you but costs are just too high. You may make a small profit but not a killing. A number of people have looked at it including myself – even the high value items are difficult to turn a profit. Sad to see it shut but it’s time to pay the piper.

  8. idiotpatrol says:

    Third World country when it comes to recycling. I’ll just leave my empties at Union Square.

    • Hurricane says:

      Dropping the patrol from your name would be so appropriate for you.

      • hmmm says:

        I think the unions are partly if not the majority motivators of inefficiency and jobs and personal growth not progressing beyond a limited this is what it says I do.

        So dropping waste off at Union square would just be returning to them the fruits of their destruction.

    • Kim Smith says:

      what has this got to do with the union?

    • Mockingjay says:

      I’ll leave mine on the Cabinet Grounds.

      • inna says:

        Be careful mate, as if we as a country continue on our current path of overspending, you might not have a job to get money to buy those beers to leave the empties on the cabinet grounds!

  9. frank says:

    This minister just did not know how to tell the people of Bermuda
    That the mrf ha been privatized.

  10. Ray says:

    Privatize recycling in Bermuda would be a total waiste of someone’s money. The plant would not turn a profit even if everyone on the Island recycled.

  11. Vote for Me says:

    This is another knee jerk reaction to cost savings.

    Bermuda is barely on the road of recycling. Stopping what little we do is a definite mistake!! Just imagine the lngterm damage we will do to the environment if we do not only recycle but maintain the psychological need to reduce reuse and recycle.

    Green Rock, BEST, Ms. Flood and the sustainable development stakeholders – please rescue us from this serious mistake.

    • hmmm says:

      Always the oppositite of what OBA is doing isn’t it @ Vote for Me

  12. boogiedownproductions says:

    The Minister and his Technical Officer in this regard have no clue.
    Both of them haven’t been on the job that long.
    Can they tell us how much money recycling brings to our coffers.
    For every container shipped out We get a return .
    Why stop a money making area unless they plan on giving it to Friends and Family.
    I hope this area don’t fall in the same space as the bridge that was to close for 2 years.
    Our children are taught to think Recyle Reduce and Reuse but the Government is saying it doesn’t make sense these days.
    I truly hope We are paying attention and keep your eyes and ears open this is just the start.

    • Onion says:

      Yes, it’s us anonymous internet commenters have all the answers!

    • hmmm says:

      Shows how much you really don’t understand.

    • Civy Says says:

      I know the TO in this area and this was a decision against their advice. TO’s advise, politicians decide.

  13. aceboy says:

    If the PLP were in power they would build a new recycling plant, budgeted at 5M, but actually costing 20M, and then give some brother in law of one of their politicians a fat contract to run it.

    ala Bermuda Emissions Control.

    I just had my bike tested. No emission test at all. But I paid them my fee because otherwise I don’t get to ride.

    • hmmm says:

      You forgot that it would take twice as long as expected , wouldn’t do the job it was intended for and was supplemented by a lease for one day short of rules governing approval from th ehouse.

  14. SEZ says:

    This is ridiculous! No recycling and no talk of future re activation?
    Oh yah it’s the FURLOUGH Days excuse again! Hey Govt stop using excuses and just do your job and govern!
    Yes I do recycle!!!!

  15. agatha christie says:

    In private business a department shuts and jobs are lost. In our bloated public sector, a department closes and jobs are transferred elsewhere ….
    So where will the recyclables go? Into the bushes ….. ?

  16. agatha christie says:

    So the public suffers …… people keep their jobs …. Bermuda no longer advocates recycling (how can it, if the tins and bottles are not being recycled).

  17. Ex-member says:

    The simple fact is the $300mn odd deficit needs to be eliminated.

    If you are unable to reduce the largest expense (i.e salaries/benefits) to achieve the reduction then it is inevitable that savings will be sought from the smaller expense items (i.e. Infrastructure development, social programs, grants, contributions etc.).

    As it stands now our budgeted debt interest payments are only second to wages/operational costs and healthcare expenditure. Our debt payments now outstrip education expenditure.

    This will continue to get worse if we can continue down the unsustainable path we are on as every year our $300mn deficit builds the debt mountain even higher.

    It is simple math folks. Noting more. Nothing less.

  18. iabingi says:

    I guess that every cost cutting/saving measure that Government presents will bring out this type of conversation. This is the year of the “Conspiracy Theory’s”.

  19. Snowballs says:

    But we recycle government ministers??? Ignore the environment and like our economy, it’ll disappear too.

  20. swing voter says:

    I hope someone can fill the gap. recycling is too important to stop, once the momentum is lost, waste will be increased 30%

  21. watching says:

    I wonder if we would be able to sustain the recycling if Premier Dunkley reduced his cabinet by one or 2 beginning with the former Premier Cannonier.

  22. San George says:

    Tynes Bay has reduced hours – now recycling gone. Don’t be shocked when we see more trash all over the place. In the long-run it is far more costly to obstruct people from disposing of garbage properly.

  23. Xaxa says:

    GAAARGH!
    This is not what we need. I have visited the MRF and am aware that it runs at a near loss for most of the time, but therein lies the problem. In considering the fiscal loss, the government is overlooking the REAL cost, which is the environmental cost of not recycling. Its bad enough that about only 20% of our island actually sorts their trash to recycle,suspending it is going to push the tenacious few that do into oblivion.
    If the MRF is to be closed/suspended whatever, where are the contingency plans to reduce the importation of TAG products. In the closure, what is going to happen to the mountains of non-combustible TAG products? Why have we been kept in the dark about this while we continue to put recyclables out bi-weekly
    Will someone please think of the real “green” and not the dollar for one blinking second!
    I really needed to get this off my chest. Sorry for the wall of text

    • Truck driver says:

      I was down the dump about two years ago and watched one of the recycling pick up trucks dump their load.

      The driver told me the majority of recyclables aren’t actually recycled.

      • J Starling says:

        They are not fully recycled on island no, we just don’t have the industrial resources for that. Most is processed to facilitate their recycling overseas rather than recycled here.

        Glass however can be largely recycled on island through conversion into aggregate which can be used for construction purposes.

  24. Catherine Greet says:

    Wondering how this will be a cost savings, as surely the main expense is in salaries/benefits etc. and the employees will simply be absorbed in other areas of Gubmt??? Privatization is a very good thing, allowing for reduction of the public sector jobs and offering the opportunuty for the axed CSs to apply for the job (on their own merit) in the private sector. Private sector jobs are based on performance and accountability……. another opportunity for our people to prove themselves, be rewarded accordingly, and removing the union from the equasion!

  25. Adam says:

    I would rather go back to the prePLP trash schedule that was once a week and have recycling than have this.

  26. Civy Says says:

    This is crazy and completely a cut off your nose to spite your face move. I would like to see the feasibility report and evidence used to make this decision. The reason why the Recycling Plant is running inefficiently is because it is grossly underutilized, recycling is an option (when most people believe it should be mandatory), and Bermuda is only trying to recycle TAG…we need to be recycling cat converters, mother boards etc too. Tech recycling is big money!

    This definitely is a ploy for privatization, let’s just be upfront OBA and not be underhanded. Call the election, I’ll vote the PLP and if they screw up…I will vote OBA. It’s not until our politicians see that WE Bermuda have the last say that they will pull up their boot straps. Who is joining me in holding the politicians accountable.

  27. Aware says:

    How out of touch can you be with your constituents?

    Ignore the Blue Halo, barely address grease balls, stop recycling.

    I’m ‘suspending’ my vote for the OBA until recycling is reinstated.

    • Aware BDA says:

      Past your vote do not count in these trouble time you have no say they for got who put them there

  28. Alvin Williams says:

    I hope this does not mean the end of recycling; I do my part in that regard; could a return to once a week pick up be on the cards?

  29. Bermuda says:

    This must make us the only first world country that doesn’t recycle. What is Bermuda coming to and what message does this send to the rest of the world? San Francisco reused or recycled 85% of the waste from their America’s Cup and we are going to burn 100% of ours?? We have been told how the Recycling Centre is basically cost neutral, that the incinerator operates at a cost, and that melted recyclables regularly break the incinerator equipment and yet the solution is to suspend recycling center operations? Surely the real solution would be to make recycling mandatory and go back to once a week pickups for both garbage and recycling as all those extra pick-ups are likely a large component of the cost. I’m very disappointed in you OBA. This is not a solution to our debt problem. This is a travesty and the revoking of our fundamental right as citizens to dispose of our waste in a more sustainable way.

  30. Sara says:

    So sad. People from other countries are always so amazed at how wasteful and neglectful Bermuda is for her environment. We are always running behind. It would be nice to allow privatization of recycling so that more products are able to be recycled and perhaps even a few small products could be made locally. Bermuda has so many needs that if I had the money I could think of so many successful businesses to invest my money. Our food here is so boring and bland. It is always the same stuff wherever you go.

  31. Ed Case says:

    Several times I’ve seen refuse disposal officers throw the blue bags in the truck with everything else. So I stopped separating cans quite a while ago. I mean, whats the point?

    Also, someone is going to complain every time gummint tries to save money. If its not this, it’ll be the next thing. Get over it people. Gummint workers are sucking us dry. Too many of them being paid to do very little. The private sector has sufferred the most – now these lazy spoiled civil servants won’t even do one furlong day. Sucking the rest of us dry. gummunt workers.

  32. campervan says:

    I’d like to see something done about the triple plastic bag wrapped styrofoam takeout containers that are used by so many on the Rock without any thought on its repercussions..
    Our beaches are becoming strewn with plastic debris etc from all parts of the World, but we can hardly complain when we have such a throw away mentality ourselves.

    • Frances Marshall says:

      Finally! Someone putting the responsibility where it belongs — with the consumer! Let’s do something creative Bermuda to eliminate our personal/corporate waste habits. For a starter mandate no styrofoam!

  33. Micro says:

    Efficiency is a recurring term used and yet we have Works crews taking 3 and 4 days to do work that can easily be done in a day with less workers.

    Then we have paving works being done, and redone, and redone, and redone, and its still not done properly…

    Scrap the whole department.

  34. First, not saying it’s the right thing to do but what I will say is this, if we were to burn trash / so called recyclable material how can it be any worse than the fumes emitting from the incinerators at B.E.L.C.O 24/7 all year long?

    • PBanks says:

      If you’re referring to allowing private homeowners to burn trash in their backyard again, then I’d have to strongly object.

  35. Greenrock says:

    This is an unfortunate and difficult way to initiate meaningful conversations about sustainability and the three R’s- Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

    We encourage the Minister to reconsider and invite facilitated community consultation on the every present issue of waste management in Bermuda.

    We are confident our community will identify and support a sustainable solution.

  36. Jus' Askin' says:

    I was hoping we could step up our recycling ;-)
    OBA has nothing for the future generations of Bermudians :-(