MAY 2009

Online exchange system created in Puerto Rico

The old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has new meaning thanks to an online materials exchange system unveiled by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Puerto Rico Solid Waste Management Authority (SWMA). The free, bilingual system, called the Puerto Rico Materials Exchange, allows organizations and individuals to advertise, request and exchange a host of materials that may no longer be needed or otherwise headed to a landfill, through www.prmatex.org.

“The Puerto Rico Materials Exchange provides a forum for businesses and individuals alike to find and get rid of all kinds of business, building and construction materials that they no longer need, but that do not belong in one of the Commonwealth’s already crowded landfills,” said acting EPA regional administrator George Pavlou. “This system will also help businesses’ bottom lines through opportunities to obtain free and low-cost materials, and to reduce waste disposal costs.”

Items available on the website will include office furniture and equipment, building materials and tools, electronics, fixtures, textiles, appliances, batteries and paint. Users can search for a certain item or simply what materials are available in a particular area of Puerto Rico.

EPA will provide training and public outreach workshops for the website’s users, SWMA staff and municipal recycling coordinators. The website builds on printed materials produced by SWMA and is modeled after New York City’s Wa$teMatch materials exchange site, www.wastematch.org.

The disposal and management of waste in Puerto Rico has been one of Commonwealth’s major environmental challenges for years. Recycling rates in the Commonwealth are much lower than the national average and many of its landfills are nearing capacity or lack proper environmental controls.