Waste Management in the Gulf Islands

Waste management strategies that focus on reduction, reuse and recycling have an immediate environmental impact through diverting waste from landfills and conserving natural resources.  Although recycling is practiced in many cities around the world and especially in developed countries, little attention has been paid to the challenges associated with it in small island communities.  Furthermore, research has focused predominantly on waste management practices carried out by local governments and private corporations rather than by non-profit community groups.  Research has been carried out by Emma Taylor to examine the assets and barriers to two community-based recycling operations on Mayne and Hornby Islands in British Columbia, Canada.   

The study developed a methodological framework for assessing community-based recycling and utilized qualitative research tools to achieve the research objectives.  Theoretical pillars of social economy, community-building and environmental education have been examined in relation to the case study.  Conclusions derived from the research situate the community recycling groups as central to providing a place for building social capital and increasing environmental awareness on the islands as well as contributing to the wider social economy network.  The research revealed that co-management partnerships between the community recycling groups and local government allow for increased local engagement and participation in resource recovery.