The Recycling Experience Ltd (RexTT) has launched an initiative for October in support of heightening breast cancer awareness.
The company is selling pink masks, and for every mask sold, part of the proceeds will be donated to the Cancer Society of TT.
The two-year-old company specialises in disinfecting, sanitisation, eco-friendly janitorial services with the use of eco-friendly products, and is a consultant on sustainable waste management. In maintaining its core value of environmental protection, the company has arranged for the collection of masks sold to limit their contribution to plastic waste.
Additionally, the company is in preliminary conversations with the Ministry of Agriculture on reusing the plastic masks as packaging for seedlings and plants.
Founder Raavohn Langaigne said, "The campaign has been doing well so far. We received a wealth of support – whether it came in the form of the purchases of masks, kind words or even a repost on social media. Everyone we shared with got on board in some way. We are deeply grateful."
He said the organisation contacted the Cancer Society in September to discuss the initiative, and was approved to execute the initiative.
Asked if there were there any challenges in the project caused by covid19 restrictions, he said the opportunities outweighed the challenges.
"There was a delay in shipment, which allowed us to meet some amazing people who were willing to assist us in getting the shipment here.
"I must make mention that before the importation of these masks, our company was a bit reluctant, as we pride ourselves as a company that was to pioneer positive change for all."
The masks were made in China, and shipped to TT.
He said the team at RexTT saw videos and images on social media that demonstrated the improper disposal of masks and were not pleased. They managed for find a safe and sustainable way of recycling the three-ply disposable face masks.
Asked why breast cancer awareness is important to RexTT, Langaigne said, "My grandmother died after being diagnosed with cancer nine years ago."
His grandmother raised him and was his primary guardian.
"She was a wardsmaid at the Point Fortin Hospital for many years until she retired. At the age of 65 she was diagnosed, likely as a result of being exposed to toxic chemicals used at the hospitals for cleaning.
"I considered, had I had the opportunity to run the janitorial services at the hospital, she may have been alive today.
"However, as I look to the future, I think about the lives and communities that can be changed by implementing solutions that work and solutions that are safe and I have committed my life to doing this."
While his grandmother wasn't a breast cancer patient, its global prevalence and the increasing economic burden, which kills over 9.6 million people every year motivates him to seek to contribute, however small.
"The current resources available to fight it are insufficient to meet the needs of such persons who have further been exposed by the fragility of the health system in our country due to the covid19 pandemic.
The RexTT team is trained to create solutions for the reduction of waste generation. They also strategise to reducie the carbon footprint of TT.
On practical services the company provides, Langaigne said, "For one of our clients, CLX Gyms, we analyse the waste-generation of the gym's members. We noted 90 per cent of the waste is plastic bottles and the remaining waste is paper-based –cups – and food items. He added, the staff is versed in recyclable waste and non-recyclable waste, so when receiving the garbage, it can be quickly separated "without placing any additional burden on our client – financially or otherwise.
"We currently use iCare bins to recycle the waste generated from our clients."
REx is led by an executive team ot three – founder and chairman Langaigne, legal counsel Gavern Mitchell and chief of operations Karelle Sieunarine.