And they’re appealing to the public to help them by cleaning and separating their rubbish properly, which in turn will help extend the life of the island’s landfill.
Since December last year the tins have been collected by Cook Islands General Transport, and it’s working out well, says Rarotonga Waste Facility manager Takave Manea.
“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.
“Te Ipukarea Society developed an advertisement encouraging the public to separate tin food cans which is being broadcast on Cook Islands Television. T&M Heather were also involved in this project, cooperating to keep sorted tin food cans separate from 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,” says Manea.
WATSAN director Jaime Short says plastic has been stockpiled at the landfill over the past three years and General Transport have helped by finding a receiver to take it.
“This is a fantastic outcome and we are very appreciative of Jessie Sword’s assistance,” says 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 a reduction of around 38 per cent 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.”
Short says replacement staff are also being recruited 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,” Manea said.
“It is not a nice job to be doing, especially because of the rotting food that people have put in the rubbish bin. So I ask the public, please do not put food scraps in the rubbish.”
The Solid Waste Management Strategy is under review. The updated version will be under way before the new financial year, complete with updated information from the feasibility study on waste disposal options and initiatives from the re-established Solid Waste Management Committee.