Improving the Rarotonga Refuse and Recycling Collection Services

23 July 2019

In an effort to improve efficiencies in waste management across Rarotonga, Infrastructure Cook Islands will be making improved changes to the household refuse and recycling collection schedule in the new contract which will be commissioned during September.  This effort will also contribute to achieving national goals such as promoting sustainable practices and effectively managing solid waste.  Communications and awareness in the newspaper, on television and on radio will be conducted to ensure everyone is aware what day their collection is. 

“Currently, some homes receive up to three collections per week and some are once a week.  In other countries overseas, homes receive a collection service once per week.  The cost of carrying out the schedule is also increasing therefore an effort to reduce the cost through improving efficiencies is our new approach” says Jaime Short of ICI Waste Management.  This is just one measure towards improvements. 

The new schedule will provide each home on the island with one collection day per week with the service operating from Monday to Saturday. Currently, commercial properties are serviced during the same domestic collection programme.  The new contract will now include the collecting of up to 120 Litres of each recyclable type from commercial properties who use the roadside collection service.  General refuse will continue at the discretion of the contractor.

“We need everyone to help us reduce volume to the landfill by separating recyclables from general waste” says Short.  The recyclable types are plastic bottles marked as recyclable, glass bottles and jars, aluminium cans and clean tin food cans. “Food contamination reduces the value of recyclables and putting food scraps in household waste makes the working environment for our staff very unpleasant, so we plead with everyone to ensure their household waste and recyclables are fairly clean of food scraps” says Short. “Food scraps should be fed to pets, chickens and pigs or composted” adds Short.

Electrical appliances, gadgets, batteries and furniture are not included in the roadside collection service.  “Recycle Cook Islands, a subsidiary of General Transport accepts electronic waste, steel, batteries and many other types of potentially hazardous waste.  Help us protect our environment and human health and well-being” adds Short.

The new tender document for the Rarotonga Refuse and Recyclables Collection will soon be advertised.  ICI is looking forward to implementing new policies and procedures that have been in the pipeline for the last two years, ready for the new contract.  “It would be very encouraging if our community does their part to help us improve our operations and reduce waste to landfill through proper sorting at the household level.  This benefits us all in reducing the costs associated with managing waste and reducing waste to landfill” says ICI Secretary Diane Charlie-Puna.