News Releases

UWI launches plastic recycling bins

For Release Upon Receipt - April 23, 2010

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, joined the world in celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with the launch of the first plastic recycling bin in its initiative to promote environmentally conscious action on Campus.

This is the work of The UWI Campus Environmental Committee, formed to execute the Campus Environmental Policy, which was approved in 2008 by the University’s Academic Board and Finance and General Purposes Committee.

According to the Chair of the Environmental Committee, Andrew Lawrence, Professor of Environmental Biology with the Department of Life Sciences, the Committee’s primary goal is “to put the environment on the agenda of the university and the wider country.”

To accomplish this, the Committee will focus on a number of proposals, including procurement –creating a list of criteria that people can refer to when making purchases, encouraging recycling, and sending “an environmental message to the students and the wider public,” said Professor Lawrence.

On Friday 23rd April, the Committee launched the first plastic recycling bin at The UWI, which complements the glass bins already in place. “We’re starting with the things we can achieve quite quickly,” he said. Placing 14 bins in strategic locations on the Campus should, “reduce the amount of litter on the Campus, the amount of waste we put into landfill sites and it recycles plastics which are a big pollution problem. Discarded plastics block rivers and help cause flooding here in Trinidad; it kills over a million marine mammals and birds each year and creates debris in the North Atlantic Ocean which could stretch from Cuba to Washington DC.”

Launching the recycling bins during the week of Earth Day, is “really timely,” said Professor Lawrence. He explains how and why Earth Day originated. “Earth day was set up 40 years ago in response to concerns about pollution and it was set up with a goal of making students on campuses in universities in the United States become environmentally aware and begin to press for changes with regard to environment. It was driven by higher education in the US, so I think it’s really timely that we, as a higher education campus, should be doing this on Earth Day and starting to reduce our own pollution impact.”   

This is just the beginning of the Committee’s efforts, however.

“In the longer term we want to try to reduce our footprint as much as possible,” said Professor Lawrence. “Hopefully we become an example that other companies in Trinidad and Tobago can use and follow.”

To find out more, please contact The Marketing & Communications Office, UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, at 662-2002 Ext. 2013, 2014, or via email at


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About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.