The Government's recycling campaign is picking up momentum, but it is up to all of us to make it a success, and that includes disposing of waste carefully.

Waste Management and Enforcement Officer Amy Harvey says that despite growing numbers filling their blue bags with TAG (Tin, Aluminium and Glass), unwanted rubbish such as decomposing food is also getting in there.

"We are getting a lot of contamination, such as plastic and paper, but we're also getting food waste and liquids," said Ms Harvey. "We have health and safety concerns for the workers as some of the food waste has been sitting around for days.

"I've had to work on the line and there's been things like baby diapers and even lobsters, which really don't need to end up at the Recycling Centre.

"The liquid waste from bottles can also affect the machinery at the plant, so we want people to empty their bottles properly.

"There are people at the other end who have to deal with your trash, so just keep that in mind and be respectful. The blue bags are purely for recycling, they are not trash bags."

The Government launched its campaign with the opening of the Recycling Centre at Bailey's Bay Quarry on April 2.

TAG stands for Tin, Aluminium and Glass, and the Ministry of Works and Engineering hopes to increase the 20-25 tonnes it collects each week to 50 tonnes by the end of next year.

The facility however, is capable of processing 25 tonnes in one day.

The Government has introduced blue bags in all of its offices and wants to widen the TAG message across all of Bermuda.

Ms Harvey said that residents and businesses are becoming more recycling-savvy but there is still a long way to go.

"One of the reasons we are focusing on TAG is that these items do not burn. They also cause damage to the incinerator. They block up the grates which leads to breakdown and ultimately, illegal dumping of waste," she said.

"When you're recycling, this not only benefits Bermuda but the rest of the world. It is for the benefit of future generations."

Residents, however, will still have to buy the blue recycling bags.

Ms Harvey said that this was due to budget restraints. Focus groups also showed that even if the Government supplied residents with ten free bags, people would be more likely to use them for "garbage".

"As we're dealing with the public purse, we have to be mindful of spending the money wisely," said Ms Harvey.

"Also, people are more likely to recycle properly if they buy the bags because they've taken the time and money to purchase them."

The Government's campaign will extend to the Island's schools over the next month. An activity book featuring cartoon characters 'The Recyclables' will be distributed to pupils aged five to nine across Bermuda.

"This will hopefully teach children about recycling and help awareness among the parents," said Ms Harvey.

She added: "Just remember TAG. People are recycling more but they can and do need to do more. We need more people involved and for it to become second nature."

Anyone with any queries or suggestions about recycling can contact the Government team at: 297-7953 or 297-7857.

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Photo by Chris Burville 4/9/07 Waste Education and Enforcement Officer Amy Harvey recycles a can at her office in Global House. The department is encouraging homeowners and schools to build recycling programs, while last week a program passed to require recycling bins at all Government offices on the island. 

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