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 -
Continuation from Part 1
So the entire process is done as Green as possible and as economically as possible, in order for us to preserve and not harm our environment. The special thing about the Green Force Company is that we only export these empty batteries to international companies that have the ISO 14001 certification, which is a certification concerning the environment. Now from our buyers, both on this side of the world hemisphere and the more eastern hemisphere, we ask them to give us guarantees against child-labor, against modern slavery, and each year we require of them to receive an audit from the environmental protection agency. The environmental agency of their country will have to regularly conduct these audits in their companies. This also valid the other way around. These companies require me to do the same audits and get the same certification to verify that our way of doing business is completely according to protecting the ecology and everything in it. These batteries will be destroyed by these companies, and the Lead will be removed from the plastic. The Lead will be recycled and re-used to make new batteries. We know for example that around 52% of the batteries that people purchase nowadays is from recycled battery materials. Another thing that we also require the company to do is for them to recycle the plastic components of the batteries. So we make sure that the entire battery and all its components will be recycled, no exception. Green Force make sure that if consumers come to Zap Batteries Caribbean to let their batteries be recycled, that the entire recycling process is sustainable. We think about the social aspects (for example no child labor and no modern slavery), we think about the environmental aspects (like the diligent processing of the lead and the recycling of the plastic components), and of course the economic aspect, i.e. the fact that people can get rid of their old batteries and keep themselves and the environment from harm, and get paid for returning the batteries to Zap Batteries Caribbean.
In that way we ensure a sustainable economy. The consumers will then, with the payment that they get from Zap Batteries Caribbean, which can amount to around a few 100 ANG, be able to purchase their own food in a supermarket or do something nice and fun with their children. This is a sustainable process which we work to maintain in all things that we do. Green Force is the only organization on the island of Curacao that works to manage this type of waste in a responsible way according to Green standards. We organizations ranging from Automotive companies, to companies in the world of Telecom, ICT (due to their back-up servers running on certain type of batteries) and alternative energy companies. As you can see we are not only working to help people on the street, but we also help the companies on the island to become sustainable.
We have seen an increase in awareness on the island concerning disposing their batteries in a safe and green way. In the beginning we processed 60 Kg of batteries per month, and now this has grown to 44000 Kg per month. I mean that has to prove something. Even with our campaigns that we ran with the elementary and secondary schools here on the island, we have seen an enormous growth due to the awareness created in the youth. These kids again share their new found knowledge about the environment with their parents and make their moms and dads become more environment-conscious. The schools that up to now have actively heard and have made the Green Force philosophy actionable are Klein College, Pipita College, Albert Schweitzer. Colegio Alejandro Paula (former PSC) and Radulphus College. What is very noticeable is that the recycling systems and policies in the one country is different than the other country. A couple of years ago (before and during the year of 2010) there was not any possibility to recycle. Green Force has brought a major difference in this area. Green Force is not only active with the operations of recycling systems, but we also offer free education to children, companies and we work to encourage growth of vegetation and are active in saving animals. We are also active organizers and participators of Curacao Clean-up.
Now Timo, what can you tell me about the current waste management system that is being used by the government of Curacao?
You know Jordan, that is a hard question to answer. Before I answer this I would like to make clear that I don’t have any intention to discredited or speak ill about anybody. To be honest, from my perspective, Curacao has one of the worst waste management systems in the world. Our choice of waste management is to cover everything up with dirt by burying it in the ground. Instead of applying this bad system, if everybody would be active recycling and composting, we would have our garbage bins being picked up by Selikor only once a month. You will be able to eliminate about 73% of your waste through recycling. If people would just become more conscious about that, then people would have far less waste to get rid of and brought to land-fill. In such a case the compost that would be generate by the conscious people could then be used to fertilize trees and other plants. Also with the recycling of all of these waste materials you can create a new economy be creating jobs within the waste management sector. At this moment Selikor is the national solution for getting rid of waste, but to be honest, Green Force sees Selikor more as a transportation company that brings waste from point A to point B. I mean outside Selikor there are about 10 recyclers on the island which are pro-active (and others less active), out of which Green Force appears to be the only company that makes its best efforts to get rid of waste in a sound and social environmentally responsible way. Where you see other recycling companies work from an economic perspectives, Green Force or myself for that matter, work from an idealistic point of view, which often times has a greater driving force than one that only works from an economic perspective.
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This article has been written by
Jordan T. Emanuelson
CEO of jConsultancy