Global Partnership on Waste Management

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Submitted by Environmental Protection Department, Ministry of Environment and Drainage

(Note: The Environmental Protection Department did not prioritize waste streams)

Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Policy and regulatory
2. Social
3. Technical and scientific
Narrative summary
Barbados (Environmental Protection Department)’s responses to the needs assessment survey show that effective policies and regulations need to be drafted for many waste streams. Despite the lack of policies, waste management methods such as agricultural composting are practiced by certain sectors, but other waste streams such as hazardous waste are neglected and poorly disposed of. The responses also show how successful waste management will also depend on the extent of community participation, as well as the quality of resources (in particular cost-effective waste management technologies and skilled human resources) that the country can draw from.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
Barbados primarily requires the enactment and enforcement of a framework of clear strategies in the management of its MSW. The responses suggest that existing policies are inadequate. In particular, certain recycling operations remain unregulated. Technologies such as waste-to-energy facilities will be proposed if funds are available to the public sector. These technologies would benefit from integration into a clear framework for MSW management. Clearer strategies are also required for public education and participation in MSW management, such as incentives or penalties to encourage recycling. The need for and continual training of skilled human resources to enact MSW management strategies also is a priority area for long-term efforts.

Organic waste
The composting of organic waste is common and informal practice in the agricultural sector of Barbados. However, policies and regulations regarding organic waste are non-existent. Outside of agriculture, the segregation of organic from non-biodegradable waste is neither a legal requirement nor understood by generators of MSW. Barbados would thus benefit from the enactment of laws on organic waste management and re-use. The responses suggest that the success of legislation in the country will heavily depend on the availability of funds. Funds are needed to procure technology for the treatment of large volumes of organic waste suited to local conditions. Legislation also heavily depends on adequate public education on the benefits of composting, including demonstrations of waste segregation. Improvements in the coordination of governmental institutions and the training of staff on organic waste management would also increase the effectiveness of legislation.

Industrial waste
Industrial waste management in Barbados requires existing regulations to be more effectively enforced. Equally, more comprehensive and data-based assessments on the composition and quantity of industrial waste are necessary. In addition, funds for technologically-advanced treatment of industrial waste would be welcomed by both the public and private sectors. The industrial sector would benefit from awareness campaigns outlining the necessity of waste management. Delegating clear roles and responsibilities to each governmental institution would also have a positive effect on the efficiency of industrial waste management in the country.

Hazardous waste, including healthcare waste and e-waste
Hazardous waste management, including healthcare waste and e-waste, is inadequately regulated by existing legislation in Barbados. Plans are being made for future regulations, in particular on healthcare waste and e-waste disposal. However the capacity for the enforcement of regulations, especially of local municipalities, can be improved. The various technologies in the disposal of hazardous waste, including storage, treatment, and even legal mechanisms, are costly to Barbados. The trans-boundary export of waste is also a costly option. The recycling of e-waste is currently driven by the private sector; however, the enactment of legislation would also deflect costs to governmental institutions. Public awareness of the threat of hazardous waste is existent, but not comprehensive. E-waste is sometimes segregated from other waste streams. Nevertheless the understanding of hazardous waste management in Barbados could be improved by data-based assessments on waste composition and quantity, and public educational campaigns on potential health and environmental risks of mismanaged waste. Better coordination of governmental institutions and better training of staff responsible for waste management would also make a positive impact.

Waste plastics
The management of waste plastics in Barbados needs to be strengthened primarily through a reduction in improper disposal. Littering laws exist, yet a more efficient enforcement structure is needed. Public awareness campaigns require continuation and expansion in order to change behaviors and communicate the health and environmental impacts of improper disposal. Within collected waste plastics, only plastic bottles are currently recycled through the Returnable Containers Act. There is therefore room for expansion with regards to legislation on the management of waste plastics.

Waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
There is currently no legislation governing the use of WAB as a resource in Barbados. WAB disposal practices are sometimes unsustainable. Therefore, education of the agricultural sector on the management of WAB needs to be implemented. Nevertheless, the use of waste bagasse from sugar canes as a resource for producing electricity has been proposed in Barbados. The responses suggest that waste bagasse use should be included into a WAB policy framework. Finally, technical assistance and cost-effective means for the conversion of WAB into an energy resource is required.