When I asked Mike Masters from Nautool about recycling metal, the initial response was that, in fact, nothing is left to waste. When I dug a little deeper, Mike began to tell me how his efforts in the 90s were born out of frustration and how he has always advocated recycling as a religion on an island that is full of trash.In 1992, Mike formed the company Metal Masters, which had a machine that compressed waste and exported it to Puerto Rico. At the time, he was reported to look into the feasibility of recycling glass as well. He was discouraged at seeing discarded metal and glass everywhere and a practical approach to recycling.

In a letter Mike addressed to the community, he concentrated on Tortolian recycling, whereby “In the old days we recycled. Everything that was imported to the BVI was put to good use, over and over again. When a bulldozer breaks now, we just let it rust and get a new one. Water jugs go to the trash, and plastic bags have replaced the straw ones we used to use. Wood pallets are left for termites. Once upon a time, they would even go as far as someone’s shelter.”


Perhaps there was an old way, when we made use of everything over and over and didn’t disregard everything as trash when used and saw it with value one time and lasting. It’s an old way of things but one that lasted for the longest time.

In 1992, the then Deputy Chief Minister Mr. O’Neal , as the title was at the time, was quoted by the BVI Beacon as stating “Keep the issue of conservation in the forefront. It’s crucial to the survival of the tourist industry.” Truly it is important that our tourists see the standards we are trying to put in place as amplified by other efforts in this issue. 

These days, Mike is the same as ever, using every piece of metal, and in his visionary efforts from twenty years ago, he draws back to the same principle to his products at Nautool, that being – there is no waste, we use every piece, no waste at all. Principles, nobody can argue with that.