Restaurant manager Vaine Haramoana-Tatakura said they were concerned at the amount of used straws discarded along the beach and the problems it caused to the ocean life.
“We hung posters in the bars with the slogan, ‘stop sucking, say no to plastic straws’.”
They were able to do that because retailer CITC had started importing more ecologically-friendly paper straws. “We were glad and purchased them immediately,” said Haramoana-Tatakura.
Most restaurants and bars on the islands have now banned the use of plastics straws.
And as part of a new scheme set up by CITC, at least two pallets of unused plastic straws will be shipped to New Zealand for recycling.
And CITC is inviting members of the public who have plastic straws at home to bring them in and add them to the recycling shipment.
The company banned importing plastic straws last year, leaving its two pallets of unsold plastic straws stockpiled.
Not wanting the straws to end up at the landfill at Arorangi, enquiries were made overseas.
“We thought we would offer the public this great opportunity to get rid of their plastic straws,” said CITC’s Ann Raymond.
Until Saturday 27 July, the unused straw collection bins are stationed outside the stores of: Avarua Main Store, Foodland, Building Centre, CITC Supermarket, CITC Liquor, Oasis Energy, Kavera Central and KAPS Matavera.
At Trader Jack’s, Haramoana-Tatakura said it was little things like that, that make all the difference to the environment.
“Here in the Cook Islands, the ocean is our life, it provides much of our food and is the major drawcard for our tourism industry.”