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Freeport Zero Waste Demonstration Project and Educational Program

We will increase the public awareness of the importance of reducing the waste stream by reducing, reusing, recycling and acommunity garden.

Photo of Gail Woon

Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The Freeport Zero Waste Demonstration Project and Education Program aims to launch a Resource Diversion and Waste Mitigation integrated community based, student led Zero Waste Project. We plan to replicate a Waste Diversion model for a portion of the Freeport Community and other Out Islands and Cays in The Bahamas, in order to showcase a whole-systems approach to waste reduction as a community (year-round residents, second homeowners and visitors). Through a series of activities and local initiatives, we wish to replicate a template that the Hope Town Zero Waste Program started so that other islands in the Bahamas may implement at different levels and scales. The project plan, activities, metrics gathered, lessons learned and outcomes will be shared as Open Source Information through the multiple Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Platforms. The Freeport Zero Waste Project aims to reduce the weight and volume of waste disposed of in the community every year starting at 10% by the end of the first year. By removing 10% of waste that would otherwise be disposed of, decomposed and burned in the landfill, these initiatives will help to reduce the amount of GHG’s released into the atmosphere, chemical toxic contamination leaching into the ground, land based pollution and CO2 emissions from waste hauling vehicles and freight boats. The project aims to encourage food security, through food production and the creation of compost from organic matter removed from the waste stream and composted. Goals: (1) To address food security as a community by educating community members on how to grow a home garden, to start a home compost and to prevent food waste. (2) To divert 10% of waste from the Pine Ridge Landfill in the first year. The goal will be to see this percentage increase every year. (3) To change the behavioral waste diversion and consumption habits within the community and bring awareness about the impact this has (4) To educate and empower our youth to become leaders.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The Freeport Zero Waste Demonstration Project and Educational Program will incorporate all 4 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) in a community based, integrated approach that includes students of all ages, year round residents, local businesses, second homeowners and visitors. The Freeport Zero Waste Demonstration Project and Educational Program has the full support of the Bishop Michael Eldon School, Local Organics Limited, the Sustainable Tourism Committee of the Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama Nature Tours, The Garden of the Groves, Sanitation Services Co. Ltd., Best Class Enterprise, The Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited, The Bahamas Plastic Movement and Cans for Kids Bahamas. The Project aims to include people of all ages (students, residents, second home owners and tourists). The project is inclusive of all demographics and nationalities present within our community. Our activities will include projects that incorporate people with disabilities.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

EARTHCARE started in September 1988 as a community-based organization which specializes in environmental education based in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. EARTHCARE will launch a local recycling program in Freeport. The Project is unique because it will be student led. We aim to use compost to build a community Urban Garden for skilled based learning & educational programming and identify the lowest income households on the island to provide fresh produce from each harvest to those in greatest need.To encourage a recycling program by offering recycling depots for aluminum cans, and glass bottles, and encouraging and engaging the community to participate. To launch a community Reusable program for grocery stores and establishments to encourage Reusables in lieu of singles use disposables. To launch a Refusal program for the hospitality industry for plastic bags, cutlery, napkins and condiments in Freeport. To categorize, report, track all reused & donated materials used for activities

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

EARTHCARE is an environmental education NGO (non-governmental organization) that works on current environmental issues facing the nation of the Bahamas, and our members visit schools to inform students and teachers about issues affecting the environment. FaceBook Group

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Other

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

We want to help mitigate climate change which is negatively affecting our low lying island nation, raise awareness about the quantitative volume of waste the community produces every year. We want to reduce the consumption of single use disposables, by using reusables, this in turn reduces the volume of demand, production of waste, and reduction of the weight of the waste taken to the landfill. We want to involve our community and create recycling opportunities that are not available now.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace is negatively impacted by excessive waste and pollution. Prosperity has been impacted by the severe economic downturn. Planet has been impacted by climate change which has caused our islands to suffer major damage from more intense and more frequent hurricanes. So climate change has impacted our peace, prosperity and planet. When our island is hit directly by the recent superstorms, businesses are closed for many weeks and some of our hotels never re-open. What was once a lucrative, busy tourist destination now looks like a ghost town. Freeport never fully recovered after the back to back megastorms: Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004. Many who had worked in the hotel industry for their whole lives lost their jobs and some of those are still looking for work. We believe that we can get our community to realize that their actions actually contribute to climate change, and that we can convince them to embrace lifestyle changes that will reduce the amount of GH Gases.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We will be working with several partners and individuals in the community of Freeport, Bishop Michael Eldon School, Local Organics Limited (LOL), the Sustainable Tourism Committee (STC) of the Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama Nature Tours (GBNT), The Garden of the Groves (GG), Sanitation Services Co. Ltd. (SS), Best Class Enterprise (BCE), The Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited (GBPA), The Bahamas Plastic Movement (BPM) and Cans for Kids Bahamas (CK). Students and teachers from BMES will be doing the surveys, weighing the recyclables and compostables to post on the scoreboard. LOL, STC, GBNT, GG, and BPM will be assisting with public workshops on the Urban Garden, composting, seed care, reusable items vs. disposable plastic items. SS, GBPA, BCE, and CK will be assisting us logistically with the recycling of the aluminum cans and glass bottles. EARTHCARE has been working with these entities for many years on various environmental projects such as International Coastal Cleanup.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Our community has a surplus of young people and older people who are more than ready to work. As stated earlier, our economy has take massive hits from back to back "climate changed hurricanes". We have community leaders and corporate partners who are willing to support and assist with all of the various aspects of the project especially the public workshops. Also we have students to collect data for baseline information on plastic bag, disposable cutlery and condiment usage from businesses.

Geographic Focus

The Freeport Zero Waste Demo Project and E P will be in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

This project is for 24 to 36 months, however, it is being set up with a view to it sustaining itself after the 2-3 year demonstration period is completed. The Freeport Recycling Program Annual Membership will be the financial engine to ensure the continuation of the project beyond funding. The Membership is a way for community members and establishments to partake in these efforts and for second home owners to contribute to the community with their support as well.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (2)

OpenIDEO Application-2.pdf

This is our complete grant application including Implementation Plans and Budgets.

Concept Form for Open IDEO.pdf

This document describes in brief what the project will entail.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Samuel Mongoni

Thank you Gail Woon, for the good idea, hope change won't happen in a day, it won't happen in a year but when it does you will be the one initiated it so keep day things will be good,hope to connect with you soon since your idea is almost the same as mine.
From Kenya

Photo of Jaci Braga

Sounds good! ;)

Photo of Ana Luisa Ahern

Excellent concept! I am interested to see how your idea becomes reality, as I believe sustainable change comes from young people!

Photo of Jaci Braga

Dear Gail,

Sounds like a great project! We at ETIV are planning something quite similar, and perhaps we could collaborate! We are planning monthly action campaigns and have created a calendar of actions as a template for things we can do to significantly reduce plastics and fossil fuels. Please check out our proposal and open up our Monthly Action Plan Calendar for a sense of the kinds of campaigns our youth leaders can lead here in Bahia and internationally. It would be amazing if your youth were also interested in being a part of an environmental justice league, making them everyday heroes in support of the environment as well! Meanwhile, I love the fact that you have a very specific goal in terms of the reduction of waste in your community. I was definitely planning on working towards achieving measurable goals, and wanted to do so by discovering the amount of plastic cups, styrofoam, straws, q tips etc. that businesses are going through, and then discovering how much plastic waste is being reduced by encouraging them to switch to greener, more sustainable alternatives. However, getting more specific in our goals in terms of the measurable outcome we want to achieve will also be critical. Please check us out and let me know if you think we might be able to partner to create something even more powerful together! Best wishes,

Photo of Gail Woon

Dear Jaci,
We would love to collaborate with you and the ETIV. I would like to learn more about the environmental justice league that you mentioned. I am sure our youth would be interested. In using our surveys before our project starts and then surveying afterwards and also by weighing the amount of material that we can divert from the waste stream we hope to be able to show that our project will make a notable difference. Please send an email to so that we can have you in our data base. I will look at your project now. Very best wishes,

Photo of Jaci Braga

I will send you an email right now. Have a lovely day! Jaci

Photo of Gail Woon

Got it! At work now, will respond later this evening. Many thanks!

Photo of bikash gurung

Hi Gail Woon , thanks for sharing your amazing idea. Freeport Zero Waste Demonstration and Educational program is an interesting initiative, Glad to have you in Bridge Builders Challenge.
From the attachment what I can see is you have applied for GEF SGP for the same program, what has been their response so far regarding your initiative. I am also interested to know what are the challenges you have faced so far in your seven years of expertise and what has been the achievements in reducing the waste pollution, achieving prosperity and bringing peace? Also wanted to suggest you to change your organizational status from Other to registered in above Q/A [ From the documents, I can see you have a registered organization], if not, we would suggest you to collaborate together with registered organization and apply accordingly . You will be able to do it after its unlocked. Looking forward to learn more.

Photo of Gail Woon

Hi bikash gurung, Thank you for looking at our proposal idea. Unfortunately, so far the feedback we have gotten was negative. GEF SGP wants us to have funding first to match one to one. We only have $15,750 at the moment. We were supposed to have a meeting with them on June 8th but the person we were to meet with cancelled the appointment because he was not feeling well. A big challenge we face is awareness. On our island we still have a large majority of the population who think it is ok to dump their refuse any and everywhere except the landfill. We do not know how much our efforts have helped to reduce waste pollution. We are hoping that if our program gets funded that we can quantify our data and really see if our efforts do reduce the amount of waste that will go into the landfill. We are hoping that the recycling efforts will generate income for the schools that participate. We have found that persons who are more environmentally aware tend to be less likely to be violent and so if we can recruit more persons to be environmentally aware, we believe that this will increase the peace on our island. Well, I didn't know if we should tick registered since our application for registration is in and being processed but is not officially approved yet. The process takes up to 6 months and we sent in the paperwork in early May 2018. Also, we have a plea out to our FaceBook group members for donations to increase the funds in our bank account so that we can hopefully show GEF that we can match the funds that we are asking for. I hope that answers your questions and that we can continue to discuss our program with you.

Photo of bikash gurung

Thanks for answers. Keep up the good work.

Photo of Gail Woon

Dear Hadi,

Thank you for your comments! We will most assuredly, if we get to do this project, collaborate with you and your vast experience in engineering, permaculture designing and sustainable waste management in hopes of a cleaner future. I would love to meet you or Skype with you. EARTHCARE's email address is Please send us an email so that we can be able to communicate once this forum is closed. I look forward to collaborating with you!! Ecologically yours, Gail Woon

Photo of Hadi Shamieh

Fantastic project! Being an engineering scientist and permaculture designer, I have acquired a lot of knowledge relevant to sustainable waste management. I would love to share my knowledge (and of course nurture it by learning from your experience) in hopes of collaborating for a cleaner future.

My focus on waste management is the application of resources coming from these wastes. I wish you the best of luck for this project and do not hesitate to contact me/ keep me in the loop if it interests you.

With gratitude,
Hadi Shamieh

Photo of Irene Márquez

Hi Gail,

Environmental education is vital for all, congratulations with your program. It is good to have people who still believe the fight is on and won´t give up. Congratulations.
We see your proposal aims to re-educate people, no matter their age. You also explain that your program counts with great support from other associations in Bahamas, which proves your work to be solid. Maybe you are doing it already, but, have you thought about using this support to divide your educating program? If these associations you mentioned could help with different age groups, you might be able to increase your impact. You could even develop an intensive course for tourist who visit your island, reminding visitors of the importance of respecting the people who live there, and their land.

We would love to hear more about your idea and how it develops in the future. Hope to hear good news.

Photo of Gail Woon

Hi, Irene Marquez,
Thank you for taking the time to comment on our proposal. I will definitely incorporate your suggestion into our program. I also never thought of trying to educate the tourists who visit our islands. We do have several Eco Tour Companies whose programs are very educational and their main customers are the tourists who visit the island. I have high hopes for the project and sincerely hope that we can secure the funding to actually start this important, and worthwhile program. Thank you for your comments! I am hoping the Review process will end soon so that I can add my 3rd Team Member, Ms. Selim, our teacher. Have a lovely weekend and thanks again for your comments!

Photo of Gail Woon

I am very much hoping that we can start this much needed demonstration project. It will be very good for the students and for the island as a whole and more importantly for contributing to lessening the factors that are escalating the Climate Change that is wreaking havoc on our island with the stronger and more frequent superstorms i.e. hurricanes! And we are ready. We have our community partners in place and they are ready to start now.

Photo of Tyrie Moss

Looking forward to this project getting off the ground!