green vieques BY CORKY PARKER AND THE VIEQUES RECYCLING DEPARTMENT
We love to share Isla Nena’s natural beauty, but as Vieques gets more and more discovered, the impact of its growing tourism grows as well. To maintain its unique beauty, with the limited infrastructure and budget of a small island, we need to work together. Here’s ten things you can do to help: 1. Recycle! You can now recycle aluminum, tin, cardboard, plastics (#1 and #2) and paper. You can drop off items at recycling locations listed below or call the city’s recycling office. (787741-5000) 2. Bring your own reusable water bottle. Our water comes from the rainforest in Puerto Rico so it’s clean and safe to drink. Bringing a bottle in your bag weighs nothing, and re-filling it here saves money. More importantly, it cuts down on the 123 tons per week of waste that ends up in our local landfill, or worse, floating in our oceans. Also remember, because our water supply is brought to the island it is not endless. Conserve water when possible.
WEST END RECYCLING OFFICE Follow 200 going West. After you pass the pier take your first left before the large field across from Milivy Church. (If you get to the church you have gone too far.) / Drive 0.25 miles and look for signs for the recycling office on the left.
3. Bring your own reusable shopping bag. Most of the stores here use lots (and lots) of plastic bags. Cut down on wasted plastic by using your own bag every time you shop, and reusing the ones you’ll end up with anyway.
5. Use less by speaking up. Often you can get your drink in a real glass rather than plastic if you just ask. Say “no straw please” and tell them to just wrap that sandwich and go without the Styrofoam and plastic bag.
4. Cool it on the AC. Electricity here comes from coal freighted in from the States, an expensive process. Our trade winds are free. Ask yourself - do you really need that air conditioner on? And always remember to turn it off when you leave for hours at a time. Along with saving electricity and money there are health benefits. When left on all day AC compressors drip pools of water around your house. Mosquitos can breed in these pools of water and will eventually find you!
6. Form your very own beach clean-up crew. Keep a few of those plastic bags handy and pick up a handful of trash that ends up on our shores. Cleanups are a great family activity and make a huge difference on our beaches, and a great value to instill in your children - before you leave, pick up!
SANTA MARIA Pass German Rieckehoff High School in Santa María and drive straight ahead. Pass the baseball park on left and drive straight ahead to a little plaza on the right. Wooden bins are just past the plaza.
ESPERANZA Located at the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust is across from the Malecon and next to Duffy’s Restaurant. The recycling containers are in front yard.
7. Buy local. Ask for local produce stands and opt for the small bananas and mottled oranges or grapefruit, not the perfect ones shipped in from
stateside. It costs half as much and the fruit tastes so much better! Same for the long, lighter and mild green peppers. Support local farms as you reduce the pollution of unnecessary shipping materials. 8. Choose cans over bottles. Glass isn’t recyclable here. 9. Yep... it’s on the list again. It’s that important to our little island. 10. Share the love. When you go home tell people about Vieques’ natural beauty and that you were a part of the effort to maintain it. Thanks!
BARRIO FLORIDA Driving west on 200 toward the airport, take a left onto 201. Take the first right into the AAA Office. The recycling containers are at the end on the left. For customers of the farmers market on Tues., Wed. and Fri., this very convenient recycling location is only 200 yards away from the market!