We are Luka Brandsma and Josephine van Buuren, two Architecture students from the TU Delft in the Netherlands. We are doing research on the trash situation in Sint Maarten and are looking into the possibility to use daily waste materials as construction materials. Firstly, we want to ask you to answer some questions we weren´t able to find through other sources. This would really benefit our research, so we hope you are able to find the time and we thank you in advance. If you want you could also answer in Dutch. Secondly, in the attachment we sent a quick 5-step tutorial on how the people from SXM can help by sending us pictures of their trash. We would appreciate it if you could do the same and maybe even ask colleagues, friends and family as well.
Demographic 1. What region of SXM are you from? 2. What is your gender? 3. What is your age? 4. Are you partnered? 5. Do you live in a: flatshare, detached house, apartment ... 6. Do you live in a 1, 2, 3 or more room apartment/house?
Experience 8. What comes to mind when you think about trash on the Island of SXM? 9. How do you experience the trash situation? Behaviour 10. Where do you bring your trash to? 11. Do you separate your trash? Why, or why not? 12. How many trashbags do you dispose monthly? Wishes for future 13. What would you like to see change in the future surrounding trash on SXM? 14. In what way would you like the trash be collected?
Would you 15. Would you separate trash yourself so it can be recycled? If you already do so, answer yes. 16. Would you separate certain trash so it can be used in construction of housing without getting a money amount for it when handing it in? 17. Would you do it for a payment? 18. Would you be willing to live in a house that consists of building materials made of trash?
Thank you for reading this post and hopefully replying to it. If you could share it with friends and family, it would help our research enormously. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us You can also find us on instagram: @trashcanbuild
Kind regards, Josephine and Luka Students at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Technology Delft
We stay at La Vista Beach for 5 to 7 weeks a year. While not residents, I have some observations on SXM waste. In the US we are very conscious of waste issues and recycle/compost as much as possible. Housekeeping changes the waste basket plastic bag daily despite requests to skip the day. This is a huge waste of plastic bags daily. The partially full bags are just dumped in the landfill. (probably fueling the frequent fires). The natives are NOT aware of recycling. We try to recycle as much of our glass, plastic and aluminum as possible. We bring it to the recycling center across from Carrefour in Cay Hill. Last year there was a plastic/aluminum collection box in the Cash & Carry (?) parking lot in Cole bay. Last year Corona beer had a recycling day where you could get a bottle of beer for 5 plastic items. Since I would recycle anyway, I brought 35 items in a large bag. A couple of LVB staff offered to take them. When I explained what I was doing, They said "Yeah Right". There were no other people at the drop off when I went. There had been a full page ad in the Herald. SXM as a whole does not seem to see waste management as an issue, despite the landfill nearing capacity and the frequent fires with toxic smoke.
Hi Josephine & Luka, We are an American couple who has rented and stayed several times in a studio attached to a house owned by a French couple in the French Cul de Sac. I can tell you what we have observed. The couple had a compost area enclosed in a fence where they requested that we deposit our compostable items like vegetable & fruit peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc. They also had pails under the sink where they asked us to separate out recycle items- glass bottles, cans, cardboard containers. They would collect it so I don't know where they brought it. We were asked to dispose of our other trash. Down the street were several open dumpsters where we would do this, probably every other day. It was just a small bag, maybe bathroom size. We saw several recycle containers around the French side for glass bottles and cans, but they always seemed to be full to capacity, with no room to add anything. Several years ago, across the island, plastic bags were being reduced. You were obligated to bring your own bags to the grocery stores on both the French & Dutch sides. I'm not sure how it is now, as we haven't been in 3 years due to the pandemic and family health issues. I hope this helps a bit.
If life hands you a lemon, just squeeze it on a lobster!
Bluesfan brings up excellent points. I do wish the hotel maids would not take the entire trash bag with just a couple items in it. But I know that there are a lot of people staying in timeshares who expect "hotel" service. And that is unfortunate. I don't take my own trash out every day!
I think the trash bag issue rests with Management. Housekeepers may be penalized if old bag not removed. Also, a plastic/aluminum (glass too heavy to move easily) recycle box at each resort would be doable. French side seems much more attuned to recycling than Dutch side.
When we moved to SXM from NYC we asked about the recycling. We had been doing paper and cans in NY at that time. I was told, shh. We don't want to. I read that BGI used crushed glass in road material. It was very frustrating not to recycle as an option.