A world class dump

by Ross MacDonald


Like many other systems, managing garbage on an island is more expensive and more logistically complicated than for mainland communities. How do other islands approach these challenges? That was the question Larissa Mansfield had in mind when she visited the Danish Island of Bornholm while on vacation with her family. Larissa is the Training, Education, and Outreach Coordinator at Lopez Solid Waste.

“I was really interested in learning about the waste management system in Denmark, but especially Bornholm. BOFA, the solid waste facility on Bornholm, is forging ahead with a Zero Waste initiative that will make them the first region in Europe to quit incineration and move to reuse and recycling. I was able to tour their facility and learn about their program when we visited the island. I was surprised and pleased that they are working to implement many of the processes that we already do here, like reuse and self-sorting recyclables.”

Bornholm faces many of the same logistical hurdles that Lopez manages: the high cost of (ferry) transportation to and from the island, a seasonal influx of visitors that increases the sheer volume of materials entering the waste stream, and practical challenges such as sourcing equipment and supplies.

Ms. Mansfield added: “I am really reinspired by the diligence, creativity, and dedication of our small but mighty little island community to tackle these very big problems of managing waste materials. I hope the Lopez Community is proud of our beloved Dump. I have been singing the praises of LSWDD all over Denmark!

Have you ever tried to figure out and been confused by the recycling and garbage system in a new place—maybe as a house guest, while traveling, or during a hotel or vacation rental stay? When visitors come to the LSWDD (Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District) site, they are sometimes perplexed when certain items can or cannot be recycled at the site but are (or are not) recycled wherever they are visiting from. One of the reasons the recycling program at Lopez Solid Waste is so exceptional is there are volunteers onsite to help! They provide friendly and helpful guidance to visitors and locals alike. Interested in learning more or volunteering? Contact Larissa Mansfield at larissam@lopezsolidwaste.org or visit the website at https://www.lopezsolidwaste.org/.