Friday, August 6, 2010

Going Green: Eating off of a waste stream can be a beautiful thing

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- No one ever said it was easy to create something functional and beautiful from a waste stream, but a local company has done just that. The most popular flooring on the island is tile, and the waste that is created from this flooring style ends up either sitting in our garages for eternity, or in our landfill for relatively the same amount of time. Well it doesn’t have to, not any more. A local business named Coexistence located right here in downtown Freeport is making beautiful tables, benches, and other requested items using broken and left over tile that normally would be thrown away.

Coexistence, a division of EcoBahamas is a Bahamian owned business run by McNeil Bullard. The business is located on Yellow Pine street directly across from GB Millworks. From the road you may make the assumption that this is just another tile/stone retailer, but upon looking closer you will notice something very different about what is being sold at this retail business. In addition to some standard product, Coexistence offers choices of natural outdoor flooring surfaces and patio furniture made from the island’s own stone and tile waste stream. Ingenuity, creativity, and a love for the environment has fueled this company to literally produce functional products using one man’s trash to create another man’s treasure.

Patio table set inlaid with waste stream tile on display at Coexistence EcoBahamas.

The patio furniture products Coexistence offers are made from poured concrete and surfaced with tile or stone. These items fit in perfectly with natural landscapes. The table surfaces are a work of art, so eating off of a waste stream could be a really beautiful experience. They provide custom options to fit the customers’ needs which leads to another waste stream item they are using- styrofoam.
Concrete items can be very heavy and when customers request items of a lighter weight, styrofoam is strategically used with the concrete to lighten the weight of certain items while not compromising the durability of the product. The styrofoam used is typically left over packing peanuts that others have deemed as trash. Finally, a sensible use for all those styrofoam pellets and peanuts we all throw away.

In addition to Coexistence assisting with the reduction of our island’s waste, Mr. Bullard’s other business entity EcoBahamas coordinates local beach clean ups throughout the Freeport area. The EcoBahamas team dedicates two Saturdays a month to restoring the natural beauty of Grand Bahama’s coastlines and public areas. Whether it is reaching out to youth groups or local adult residents, Mr. Bullard’s leadership in this arena has resulted in cleaner beaches and awareness around the importance of caring for our environment.

Coexistence, a division of EcoBahamas is a Bahamian owned business run by McNeil Bullard. The business is located on Yellow Pine street directly across from GB Millworks.

Grand Bahama has many people who are making a difference and leading our island to a greener future. EcoBahamas and Coexistence are two entities run by one man who is part of a group of many dedicated people on our island who have the passion and the desire to elevate Grand Bahama to a greener more sustainable existence. We can either join the people who care about making our island more attractive, healthy, and desirable for tourists and ourselves, or we can sit on the sidelines and complain about our economic situation and unsightly trash. The choice is ours and it s up to us to make the right choice. What will you choose?

So if you are in possession of such treasures as waste tile or left over styrofoam packing materials, or you simply want to help with a beach clean up, here’s what you need to know. You can either drop off your tile or styrofoam at the red and white building on Yellow Pine street during normal business hours, give Mr. Bullard a call at 443-9597, or send an email to e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

And lastly here’s your green challenge for this week. Take a look in your garage or storage area and get rid of that scrap tile you’ve been saving for no good reason or make sure you tell your favorite tile guy where he can drop off his waste tile. And if you are in the market for any outdoor tables, benches, or concrete items, don’t forget to stop by Coexistence to see if there is a green choice that fits your needs.

Cheri Wood recently retired from Bank of America and has now permanently relocated to Grand Bahama. Her career of over 20 years in corporate America included serving in various capacities including training, marketing, sales, quality control, risk assessment, communications and operational management. While performing her regular job responsibilities, Cheri also served several years as the president of the Environmental Network for the Bank of America in the State of Rhode Island. Her experience in the environmental arena includes project management and coordination of volunteer events on local and national levels throughout the United States. Over the years she has worked closely with organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society, the Rhode Island Rivers’ Council, and in 2010 Cheri was elected as secretary of the GB Branch of the Bahamas National Trust. Serving in her voluntary role with the Bahamas National Trust, Cheri is involved with increasing recycling on the island, promoting green practices with local businesses, educating the community on the importance of preserving the environment, and serving as a resource for those who wish to participate in environmental opportunities on local and international levels.  

1 comment:

  1. This is a very nice website. Very informative, like it. I will come back again, we should be following each other on twitter. I have never be to the Bahamas, I have heard a lot about it, hope to visit one day.