Hurricanes Irma and Maria produced over 700,000 cubic yards of brown and green debris. Island Green Living Association spearheaded an alternative to burning this material, which would have been devastating to the environment and to human health. That alternative is chipping and composting.
Thanks to grants from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Island (CFVI) and the generosity of donors, Island Green, with the support of VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) has been chipping and mulching most of the vegetative debris that arrives at the Susannaberg Transfer Station, diverting it from the Bovoni landfill.
Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 4, the non-profit will make the only locally-sourced mulch available for sale to the community. Island Green’s Brush Chipping Pilot Program has been designated a Clinton Global Initiative “Commitment to Action” for its sustainability.
The mulch is priced as follows:
- $3 for a five-gallon bucket (please bring your own container)
- $10 for a grain bag – equivalent to three five-gallon buckets – ($1 is a deposit to return the bag; next time the bag is $9 to be refilled)
- $100 for a bucket scoop from the Bobcat – this is the equivalent to 38 five-gallon buckets
“We are excited to be using the mulch at our gardens,” said David Minner, Ph.D., who is the coordinator of the Iowa State University EARTH Program at Gifft Hill who has been leading the program.
The mulch will be available at the ReSource Depot during regular hours (Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Bags are pre-filled; people can fill their five-gallon containers from a mulch pile at the Resource Depot yard.
Bobcat bucket scoops and other bulk purchases can be prearranged through Aug. 13 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, after which bulk purchases can be coordinated with the ReSource Depot.
The Brush Chipping Pilot Program has allowed this rich resource to remain on St. John while cutting the island’s carbon footprint and advancing resilience in the aftermath of future hurricanes. A powerful Vermeer Brush Chipper was procured, with shipping and delivery compliments of Crowley Logistics, Boyson Inc. and local trucker Michael Marsh.
The Iowa State University EARTH Program, managed by Minner, used an ISU Capstone class to develop a comprehensive wood chipping and composting plan for St. John that served as the basis for the Island Green grant with CFVI. Minner serves on the Island Green board and, along with Operations Manager Anthony Novelli, has been a key player in making this venture a reality.
Established in 2004, Island Green Living Association is a registered 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization on St. John dedicated to sustainability throughout the USVI. www.islandgreenliving.org.