The following is an interview with Zap Batteries Caribbean's Environmental Champion of 2017, Timo Brouwer.
I got the opportunity to interview this active environmental champion that lives to make sure that society in its entirety can keep on living soundly. Timo sums up what it means to be aware of your surroundings, including people and nature. I especially learned a lot from Timo, so I know that you will too. Stay tuned to read on more on Timo's interview.
- Zap Batteries Caribbean's finest -
So Timo, as an active person in the environment in the community of Curacao, please tell me a little bit about yourself. Tell me how it all started....
Well, hi. My name is Timo Brouwer and I am the owner of the recycling company on the island called Green Force. It was around and about the year of 2008 to 2009 that I was working for another recycling company. It was in that time that I quit my job, and short after that the company that I was working for, got shutdown. Former clients of the company knew me and wanted so much for me to continue with the same type of operations that I was in charge with at the former company where I was working. It was 2 months later that I started my own proprietary company to get started with the recycling operations here on the island. I founded the Green Force company at the end of February in 2010, and I started with 1 recycling bin at the Albert Heijn Supermarket where people could bring their aluminum cans. All of that, which I started from an ideological stand point grew to a gigantic enterprise.
My goal is to help mother earth, which is not necessarily an economic goal but an ecological one. The entire enterprise focuses and believes in principle that in gathering as much aluminum cans as we can, we each time save a little piece of the Amazon. We also operate on the basis of processing plastic bottles. We all know that plastic bottles do not belong in nature. These plastic bottles are manufactured from oil. If we dispose of these plastic bottles in a manner that is inadequate and thereby also keep encouraging the production of plastic bottles manufactured from oil, then we will also be guilty of contributing to the global warming. I mean, we are aware now that plastic can stay intact in nature for a period of 10 to 15 years. In order to keep our island clean and fresh in the eyes of the tourist, given that Curacao is a tourist island, we actively and purposefully clean up and process these plastic bottles, and thereby mitigate the waste and overuse of oil raw materials. The caps of these bottles are a different problem entirely, because they become a threat for the animals in the sea and the birds in the sky. Often the birds assume that everything that is floating on water can be eaten, which causes them to interpret a floating cap as food. In the same manner we are losing thousands of animals and we are experiencing a death-count of about a million of birds a year on a global level. I also recycle cardboards. By recycling these cardboards I get to save trees. Due to the fact that cardboards are made from trees, when we recycle these, there will be less trees needed to be cut down for the fabrication of these cardboards. We humans need trees not only to fight against global warming, but also to be able to breathe clean air. The less trees there are, the less oxygen there is to breathe.
Now we also have the story of motor batteries. The story behind these batteries is a totally different perspective in its cause and approach. Now pay attention! I’m an environmental company. My competitors in the past asked consumers to deliver their batteries to them empty, without any acid liquid. I started to notice that the consumer in general would dump the acid in in the sea, in their backyard, and on the streets. Now what happens is that the acid liquid in a motor battery is capable of contaminating 6000 liters of water, and can cover an area of 400 m2 expanded. Now that is caused only by 1 motor battery. You can then imagine that consumers are ignorantly throwing the content of around 10 motor batteries in their backyard. What people are also not aware of is that the acid liquid in the battery their still remain residues of Lead nano-particles. So when you throw the battery content in the environment, you are contaminating nature with the lead, which is dangerous for human and animals. Let me clarify the following. The Lead nano-particles is poison. So people are busy poisoning themselves and their environment. So at a certain point I said to myself that I am going to do something about it. We started a collaboration with Zap Batteries Caribbean, gathering all motor batteries from the consumers, no matter which brand it is, and we ask people to bring the batteries full, with the acid liquid included. In return the consumers will get paid for what they deliver. The moment the batteries arrive at the Green Force company, we have our workers using protective gear and then have them remove the acid from the batteries. We then neutralize the acid using certain chemicals. It is a process that has been developed together with 2 environmental consultant companies, namely Eco-vision and Arbo & Milieu Consult. However, due to this process not being a 100% full-proof, we developed another method, namely a method based on a sedimentation process. In this process the Lead nano-particles in a certain amount of time start sinking to the bottom. At that point it isn’t really acid liquid anymore, but it has become something more comparable to salt water. What is then left in the tray is a composition of Lead particles with salt water, and this residue is then carried out and processed appropriately to Land-fill (the local waste-management park).
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This article has been written by
Jordan T. Emanuelson
CEO of jConsultancy