Trash Trip

Exploring waste, from coast to coast.

2010-01-15 – Trash Trip

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One we set anchor, and before we set foot on land, the first thing spotted is a man collecting trash!  What are the odds? Norton Smith's sailboat, "Imagine," safely at anchor as we set out in search of our first interviewee on St. Barts. Me, with my interviewing kit at the ready, sporting my new dress bought at the market in Marigot, St. Martin.
Me interviewing Christophe Turbe, as he answers a call. Norton Smith looking over at one of the separation areas at the waste handling and incinerator facility.  This stack of used car batteries will accumulate until it is ready to be shipped to a treatment facility (most likely, in mainland France). A peek at a bin of batteries, in a bin that is shipped to a handling facility (most likely, mainland France).
Christophe Turbe opening various bins, showing us their contents, as I interview him (in French, no less). Another view of the areas for people to separate their trash.  The simpler the system, the better the participation. Yes, even islands accumulate appliances as waste.  What do you think they do with them, since they don't have the easy ability to truck them across state lines or to a landfill 100 miles away (the island is well under 50 miles long in any one direction)
Fluorescent lights are efficient but difficult to handle once depleted - due to the mercury vapor inside each tube (a neurotoxin, in case you didn't already know). Bottles, in a freshly-emptied bin.  The glass is crushed and used as an aggregate, in roads and such - not unlike what is done in the US. Miscellaneous "wood-based waste" which includes wicker furniture, apparently.
Used vegetable oil is good for bio-diesel fuel and even as straight fuel oil in diesel cars (it's not cold enough there, in the winter, to worry about it gelling in the fuel lines). Christophe Turbe leading the way to a pile of aluminum cans, which are shipped to recycling centers "elsewhere" for cash... and, no, it's not likely that the value of the cans sufficiently offsets the cost of shipping - it merely reduces the cost of removing them from the island.  Island living is not cheap, especially when you import everything you eat, wear, and otherwise use in your daily life. The output end of an incinerator - one pile is non-toxic (as shown) and another pile (not yet shown) is toxic and handled separately and accordingly.  This pile of stuff is used as another form of aggregate, in roads, etc.
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Description: Interviewing and touring the waste-handling and incinerator facility on St. Barts... oh, and checking out some other sights around the bay!
Location: Saint Barthélemy (St. Barts)

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