Companies the world over have recognised the importance of recycling and have been altering their business practices to become more environmentally responsible. Take for instance Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, who stated that, “recycling, packaging, businesses are changing all of those things because that’s what consumers want.” Countries like Germany, which has the highest recycling rate in the world, has a no nonsense policy when it comes to the issue, recycling an impressive 66.1 percent of its waste.
Trinidad and Tobago is taking great strides to get on board.
On January 17, The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and its innovation laboratory, IDB Lab, signed off on two major projects focused on green and recycling projects – the End of Life Tyre Recycling Facility and The Close Loop Caribbean.
“IDB Lab in collaboration with The Global Environment Facility (GEF) issued the challenge to identify private sector led innovations that could address the very serious problems associated with waste streams in the Caribbean region. We were focused on private actors that have the knowledge, skills and capacity that could test and scale relevant solutions, the emphasis is on scaling up solutions for impact,”
explains IDB Lab Specialist, Vashtie Dookiesingh. “We are clear that circular economy solutions require rigorous management of costs as well as logistics and to quality management if they are to be commercially viable and sustainable, in this regard our firms in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the wider region, are well placed to intervene and innovate.
Special congratulations to the Hadco Group for their investment in a commercial scale tyre recycling facility, as well as the Close the Loop Partners, Hello Green, IAMovement and Tocana Ltd in supporting diversion and composting of organic waste for application in land generation. As the IDB Lab, we hope to de-risk aspects of their investments through financing but also by partnering through implementation to help in troubleshooting, fostering connections and sharing knowledge.
About the projects:
End of Life Tyre Recycling Facility – EcoImpact Company Ltd, a member of the Hadco Group:
This project will implement Trinidad and Tobago’s first private sector led solution for the collection and recycling of end-of-life tyres converting them to rubber crumb and other derived products for export. IDB Lab and GEF have provided US $380,000 to complement company investment of US $1.7m. Project resources will be allocated to support commissioning and operations of the recycling plant, logistics management for collection of feedstocks (end of use tyres) and public sensitization and scaling. The key outcomes targeted for this project are: to achieve breakeven by year three of operations, 700,000 tyres diverted from the landfills and converted to value added products and the elimination of 32,778 ug/kg of UPOPs emissions due to the proper disposal and conversion of end-of-life tyres over the project period.
Close the Loop Caribbean – Hello Green in partnership with IAMovement (winners of the 2022 Superheroes of Development) and AP Scott Ltd
Organic waste represents a significant portion of total waste entering the country’s landfills, estimated in a 2017 IDB study at 27 percent. The Close the Loop Model will test and scale a commercially sustainable system to collect, process and reuse organic waste to leverage its value in regeneration of lands and in sustainable and climate smart agriculture over time. IDB Lab and the GEF will provide US$728,600.00 in blended reimbursable and non-reimbursable financing to complement US$1.1M in counterpart investment. Key elements of the solution are: the creation of systems, capacity, and partnerships for the collection of organic waste, processing of waste as compost that will be used for land rehabilitation and regeneration, and the development of a carbon trading model to measure, verify and trade credits for carbon sequestration achieved.
Targeted outcomes include: Diversion of 10,000 metric tonnes of organic waste from landfills over the project execution period, the elimination of 182 metric tonnes of methane production due to the diversion and conversion of organic waste, carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent offset of 4,550 metric tonnes attributable to diversion of organic waste from landfill, and the monetization of services to cover 100 percent of Close the Loop’s direct operating costs by 2026. The project is innovative as it represents the first scalable private sector led circular model to address two important issues in Trinidad and Tobago: the environmental and health hazards generated by untreated organic waste reaching the country’s landfills; and the need to find sustainable and climate smart solutions for land regeneration, particularly given the impact of the country’s extensive extractive industries including quarrying and mining.
About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank’s mission is to improve lives. Founded in 1959, the IDB is one of the main sources of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research projects and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.
About IDB Lab
IDB Lab is the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, the leading source of development finance and expertise for improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean. It promotes early-stage entrepreneurial innovations, focusing on two development priorities in the region: benefiting poor and vulnerable populations, and activating new engines of sustainable growth.
About IDB Lab Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago anchors IDB Lab for three countries: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname in programming and portfolio management. In 2022, 12 of of 99 operations were approved for the above countries for a total of US $5M (17 percent of total approved values). IDB Lab’s team and all projects within the portfolio is led by Lead Specialist Vashtie Dookiesingh based in Trinidad and Tobago with support from three country based IDB Lab consultants and an operations analyst in IDB Lab’s service centre in Costa Rica. The IDB Lab Trinidad and Tobago portfolio also includes the Shaping the Future of
Innovation program which is co-financed by the European Union (EU). This project executed by The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) represents the first IDB Lab co-financing agreement with the EU and at over US $10M, most of which is budgeted for direct financing of companies in TT seeking to innovate.