A presentation and discussion co-hosted by Antilles School will soon give St. Thomas residents the chance to “talk trash” with Allison Fraley, Solid Waste Program Development coordinator for Kauai County in Hawaii.

The public forum will be held on Monday at 6 p.m. in the Prior Jollek Hall at Antilles. All residents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Fraley, who has helped to establish Kauai’s solid waste management system (including backyard composting, effective public education programs, and solid waste diversion), was invited by the Coral Bay Community Council to share her experiences transforming the solid waste programs on her tropical island.

During her visit to the Virgin Islands, July 24 to 28, Fraley also will meet with Waste Management Authority officials and V.I. senators, and will participate in forums on St. Thomas and St. John.

Since coming on board in 2000, Fraley’s efforts have helped significantly increase Kauai’s waste diversion rate, which is at 43 percent.

Putting in place effective programs has been a key part of Fraley’s strategy, including championing the passage and enforcement of legislation banning commercially generated cardboard, metal and green waste at the Kauai County landfill.

“This has had a major impact on commercial waste diversion,” according to Fraley. “Meanwhile, backyard composting is our least expensive program and also does a fantastic job of diverting residentially generated food and yard waste from the landfill with no costs for hauling or processing material.”

Fraley has been successful in advocating for the hiring of more staff to develop, contract, monitor and educate about waste diversion programs.

“Kauai has a 43 percent diversion rate and shares a number of similar variables (tropical island, topography, climate, population, high tourism industry, transportation issues) making them ideal to look to, learn from, and perhaps copy here in the Virgin Islands,” said Scott Eanes, Environmental Programs associate at the Coral Bay Community Council. “It’s wise for us to look to other island systems to see how they are handling their solid waste issues, their successes and pitfalls, and then see if we can emulate it here.”

Fraley’s interest in recycling and solid waste diversion started in college and turned into a full-fledged career in 1994, where she started working at Ecology Action, a nonprofit in Santa Cruz, Calif.

She worked there for six years before moving to Kauai in 2000, becoming the county’s first paid staffer focusing on recycling. Fraley has since moved on to her current position within the Solid Waste Division, assisting with oversight of all areas of solid waste management on Kauai.

Fraley’s visit is possible through a solid waste management grant awarded to the Coral Bay Community Council from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Her presentations and discussions are being co-hosted by the V.I. Waste Management Authority, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources-Coastal Zone Management, Island Green, E.A.S.T., Virgin Islands Conservation Society, and Plastic Free Island: St. John and Antilles School.