Too much single-use plastic does irreparable harm to our surrounding waters.
The fragile coastal environment of the U.S. Virgin Islands is vulnerable to disposable plastic that arrives on our shores from elsewhere as well as single-use plastic we use as visitors, consumers and residents on island.
Recycling cannot make up for the sheer amount of disposable plastic used on island.
Even if there was robust recycling infrastructure on St. John, it could not recover the volume of single-use plastic utilized in our daily lives. Currently, recycling of single-use plastics is virtually non-existent.
Continuing to bury single-use plastic using landfill space is not a solution.
The USVI's rate of total Household Solid Waste received at the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas is 8 to 9 lbs. per capita per day, which includes all businesses and tourism divided by the year-round population. This is according to data in the Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan developed by the Coral Bay Community Council in 2015. Vanishing landfill space within our territory's island environment simply cannot sustainably meet the demands currently placed on it, especially when it includes increased consumption of unnecessary plastics.
Plastic gets away. But it never goes away.
Plastic is a durable material made to last forever, yet illogically, 33 percent of it is used only once and then thrown away. Plastic cannot biodegrade. It simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.
Let's do something today to curb the use and flow of disposables tomorrow.
We can take small actions now on St. John that make a difference. And, over time, we can take even bigger actions that ultimately turn the tide on single-use disposables. Building a healthier, more vibrant economy and St. John community for generations to come depends on what we do today.
The Bottom Line
We're lovers of St. John who hold this island dearly and want the best for this special place and its residents. Together, we're embarking on an Innovation Project that seeks to find and apply ways to reduce and eliminate unneeded single-use plastic. We believe this is an Aspirational Island that can become a beacon for others to follow.