BY MORGAN LEGEL
As Guam residents continue to be vaccinated, allowing the island to slowly ease restrictions, some retailers, especially at shopping centers like Guam Premier Outlets, are experiencing an uptake in cardboard for recycling, due to an increase of in-person shopping
Suzanne Z. Perez, shopping center manager, Guam Premier Outlets, said that while the shopping center is not back to pre-COVID levels, the amount of cardboard for recycling in the three cardboard recycling bins has gone up in recent months.
“Our cardboard pick-up frequency increased in March because business is picking up,” she said.
“Prior to March 2021,” she said, “our cardboard pick-up frequency was 18 cubic yards per week. In recent weeks, we’ve increased our pick-up to twice a week totaling 36 cubic yards per week.
“We have a few national tenants who have their own bins and they’ve also experienced larger volumes of cardboard in recent months. Between Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Famous Footwear, their volume combined is 72 cubic yards per week. This is in addition to our 36 cubic yards per week for the rest of the shopping center,” Perez said.
These figures do not include Ross Dress for Less, as the corporate office controls the store’s recycling efforts. However, Perez said, Ross also produces a large volume of cardboard for the shopping center.
Robert Perron, president of Guahan Waste Control Inc. and Guahan Waste Recycling LLC, which does business as Mr. Rubbishman, said that approximately 20 to 25 40-foot containers full of recycled cardboard are shipped off island per month, which amounts to anywhere between 460 and 625 tons per month.
“Less cardboard is coming from places having to do with the tourism industry, like hotels and people like that, so I think it’s ended up being a wash. Most cardboard comes from residential areas, he said. “If we were down or up, it wasn’t by much [in the way of cardboard], it stayed fairly consistent.”
There were a few months early in the pandemic where Guahan Waste was not processing residential, single-stream recycling for a few months, but Perron said all the processing has caught up.
“Our national tenants have been informed to be expecting larger volumes of shipments in the coming months,” Perez said. “We’re looking forward to seeing our stores fully stocked as they were pre-COVID.” She expects to see more cardboard as the island opens further, she said.
In other recycling news, Guahan Waste recently purchased and brought a glass pulverizer to the island, to help handle waste glass.
“When glass goes into a landfill, it sits there until the end of time,” Perron said. “It’s hundreds and hundreds of years for it to breakdown.”
The new machine will repurpose the glass sand produced by the pulverizer to use in roadway projects, in partnership with the Guam Department of Public Works. The plan is to use the glass sand in the prep and base layers, underneath the asphalt. Perron said an experimental roadway project using this method has been successful.
In January China stopped purchasing and receiving cardboard from Guam, among many other places. Perron said China paid the most money for the product, so now the recycling industry has to figure out a new, workable solution.
“When China was taken off the board, it really affected us, it stepped the whole recycling industry back,” he said. mbj