In December 2016 General Transport approached Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) and requested to take tin food cans from the Rarotonga Waste Facility for recycling. Rarotonga Waste Facility staff are now pulling tin food cans from the unsorted general rubbish since there is now a recycling option “We are trying to reduce what is going in the landfill so we can extend its useful life further so with General Transport wanting to take these cans, it is a very positive thing for us” says Rarotonga Waste Facility Manager Takave Manea.
Te Ipukarea Society developed an ad encouraging the public to separate tin food cans which the public will be seeing advertised on CITV now. T&M Heather were also involved in this project, cooperating to keep sorted tin food cans separate from the general rubbish.
From here things have progressed very well. The next step in recycling is the shipment of stockpiled plastic PET 1 and 2 at the Rarotonga Waste Facility. “This plastic has been stockpiled for about three years now and General Transport have assisted us by finding a receiver to take the plastic. This is a fantastic outcome and we are very appreciative of Jessie Swords assistance” says Director of WATSAN Jaime Short. A new arrangement between General Transport and ICI will see General Transport continuously sending recyclable plastic, aluminium and tin food cans away for recycling. “This could see approximately a thirty eight percent reduction in the volume of rubbish going to landfill but ONLY if everyone separates their rubbish at the home and office ready for roadside collection” says Short. Further reduction of plastics to landfill is going to happen with the receiving agent able to take other plastics apart from PET 1 and 2.
New replacement staff are being recruited right now to fill vacancies at the Rarotonga Waste Facility. “The additional staff will allow us to take more time to remove recyclables that have not been sorted however this job can be made much easier if people clean and separate their rubbish properly ready for collection” says Manea. Manea goes on to add “It is not a nice job to be doing this especially because of the rotting food that people have put in the rubbish bin so I ask the public to please, do not put food scraps in the rubbish”.
The Solid Waste Management Strategy is under review and the updated version will be underway before the new financial year with updated information from the feasibility study on waste disposal options and initiatives from the re-established Solid Waste Management Committee.