A lot of recyclable waste is being thrown away in Grenada, and RB Jones says he can convert it into dollars and local jobs.
Jones is the founder and CEO of EnergyZMart, a new recycling company, and he’s out to clean up the Lake City.
“I see what we’re doing as a win-win for all Grenada’s businesses,” said Jones, who got his recycling plant on South Street up and running in February.
“We’re taking away materials that businesses would throw away, and we’re making something positive out of it,” said Jones.
Get up early, around 6 a.m., and you might catch Jones neck-deep in a dumpster somewhere in town. He’ll be throwing out cans, plastics and cardboard and taking them back to his shop to bail them.
“My vision, my hope, is that the only thing we’ll be putting in the land fill in Grenada in a few years is old bologna and stale cottage cheese,” said Jones.
To date Jones has recycled some 45,000 tons of cardboard and 4,000 pounds of plastic. He’s done it with just five employees and a couple of local guys with trucks.
“It just takes awareness and a willingness to help,” said Jones. “We can turn garbage into something positive for the local economy.”
Jones is a Grenada native who went west as a young man.
Jones served as mayor of East Palo Alto, Calif., and there made political connections that got him involved with recycling. He got to know former Vice President Al Gore and became the first African-American to testify before Congress about the environment.
“I know that less than two percent of the population recycles, but we’re trying to change that,” said Jones. “It just makes good economic sense.”
Several local businesses have pledged to help Jones by simply allowing him to take their garbage.
“He helps us a lot by taking away food boxes,” said Kiara Rice, a manager at Popeyes Chicken. “We don’t throw the boxes into the dumpster with the food. We just leave them beside the dumpster,” said Rice. Jones comes to pick up the boxes early in the morning so they’re not an eyesore.