In partnership with the VI Waste Management Authority (WMA), Island Green Living commits to launching a six-month pilot program that will process vegetative waste on St. John into a valuable woodchip and compost product available for community use.
This will be the first large scale composting effort in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Through grant funding from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, Island Green Living procured a Vermeer BCXL 1800 brush chipper for the island of St. John. Partners including Vermeer, Crowley Logistics and Boyson Inc. have generously contributed funds to cover other costs related to equipment and shipping. WMA will stage all vegetative debris brought to the Susannaberg Transfer Station for later processing using this woodchipper. The resulting material made from the process will be offered at no cost to the community, including landscapers, schools, homeowners and parks.
The program will create two positions (Manager and Operator) and offer training for these workers on the entire process, from operating the equipment to management of the processed material. Island Green Living will also incorporate training for 15 USVI students by working with local schools to sponsor two field trips to the site to learn about sustainability and composting. Before the chipping begins, Island Green Living will promote the project through in-person meetings, social and local news media posts to build awareness with landscapers, farmers, homeowners, schools, parks and others in the community.
Through this commitment, Island Green Living will reduce the amount of resources going to landfills on St. John, provide valuable resources to the community, and offer educational opportunities for students, all while reducing the island’s carbon footprint. Island Green Living aims to help shift the community’s perception of waste management into one of resource management and support debris management operations during future storms.
Debris will be delivered to transfer station on St. John by Waste Management and materials will be staged.
Chipping begins and Island Green Living will track and measure debris quantity.
Island Green Living will promote this work through social media and meetings with landscapers and others to advertise how these materials can be used. This will be offered at no cost to landscapers, schools, homeowners and parks.
Island Green Living will distribute material to interested parties.
Island Green Living will collect data on how the chips will be used.
Island Green Living will work with schools to sponsor field trips for students to learn about the importance of composting.
Q2 & 3 2020
Continuation of activities from Q1 2020.
At the end of the pilot program, data collected will be shared and Island Green Living will seek opportunities to expand upon this program, including extending the current vegetative program past the six month pilot, expanding to other forms of composting such a food scrapes, aiding in the development of similar programs on sister islands, etc.
Following the 2017 category five hurricanes, tens of thousands of cubic yards of vegetative debris arrived at the St. John Susannaberg Transfer Station (STS) in volumes that greatly exceeded site capacity. This caused a backlog of debris needing to be processed, and subsequently debris backed up at centralized waste drop offs throughout the island. For example, across from the Coral Bay dumpsters, for over six weeks, a five-foot-tall, quarter mile long pile of debris lined the street due to this backlog at the STS.
The suggestion to incinerate the material sparked outcry over the environmental hazards. In such large piles, the vegetative debris also posed a fire hazard. Ultimately, the dilemma necessitated the importation of a horizontal shredder to reduce volume to a manageable size for hauling, but it was still not suitable for landscape or agriculture. While some material was further processed, and a small amount given back to the community to use as mulch, the majority was transported from St. John to St. Thomas, thus stripping this valuable resource from St. John.
Today vegetative debris cut from the National Park, Public Works, local landscapers and homeowners, is put into satellite dumpsters around St. John and mixed with other waste that ultimately heads to an overburdened landfill in St. Thomas. This material is a carbon source that could instead be put back to use and help regenerate our land.
The USVI has two landfills. The Anguilla landfill in St. Croix is slated to close next year and the Bovoni landfill in St. Thomas has less than two years capacity remaining. With no municipal level recycling or composting available, it is imperative alternative solutions are presented to modernize the resource management of the territory.