What is Zero Waste?
The simple answer: We aim to send nothing to landfill. We reduce what we use, reuse as much as we can, have the majority recycled, and compost what we cannot.
The less simple answer: It’s really about redefining the system. We currently live in a linear economy where we take resources from the earth and then dump them in a giant hole in the ground. The goal of zero waste is to move to a circular economy where we write trash out of existence. The circular economy mimics nature in that there is no trash in nature.
Instead of discarding resources, we are working to create a system where all resources can be resumed fully back into the system.
The Cook Islands face a range of challenges around the management of solid waste. Due to size and isolation, disposal of rubbish has significant costs, both environmental and financial in the Cook Islands and focus needs to be in reducing solid waste to landfill.
Equally important is the fact that poor waste management has far reaching consequences beyond our shores. Litter will often be blown or washed into the sea where it threatens wild life. The substances that plastic is made of is released into the environment and the food chain through consumption by fish.
Goal 3 in the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) states:
“Promote sustainable practices and effectively manage solid and hazardous waste”
ICI is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Rarotonga Waste Facility and to progress Goal 3, ICI is working through a range of initiatives to improve solid waste management through:
– Establishing partnerships with the private sector and other Government organisations
– Implementing new processes at the Rarotonga Waste Facility
– Communications and Awareness via Facebook, newspaper and presentations. Like the Infrastructure Cook Islands Facebook page to receive regular updates and articles (both local and international), and best practices in waste management.
The Cook Islands National Solid Waste Management Strategy 2013 – 2016 is currently under review.
Learn more about our initiatives below.