And now that many of the retailers are helping reduce the use of plastic shopping bags by charging for them, plastic drink bottles are the biggest contributor to our plastic waste. It is estimated that over 3 million plastic bottles are imported into the country every year, and none of them are being sent back out of the country.
Te Ipukarea Society has been working on alternatives to single use plastics now for several years. We have made significant headway in promoting biodegradable takeaway food containers to replace the polystyrene that was commonly used. We have also promoted the use of biodegradable straws for drinks, and now a number of bars and cafes no longer supply plastic straws.
Last year launched the Plastic Battle Campaign to raise more awareness about the plastic issue, and also to suggest some more alternatives to the use of single use plastics. The latest initiative in this campaign is to promote the use of reusable water bottles, based around the “Mana Tiaki, Protect a Little Paradise” theme.
These bottles are available in two sizes - 800ml and 500ml, and in five vibrant colours, red, blue, gold, silver and black. They also feature an attractive locally-designed Cook Islands themed logo. The bottles are insulated, and can keep beverages hot or cold for up to 12 hours. They can be used for water, coffee, beer, or any other beverage that you like to keep hot or cold.
We are hoping that everyone will get on board, by purchasing these attractive bottles. They are perfect for local sports teams and sporting events, and school students. Tourist accommodators could provide them in their rooms for tourists to use, and take home with them when they leave our shores as a memento of their stay.
They can actually save you money, as you can refill them at any of the water filling stations around the island marked safe for drinking. You can also refill them at your local beer filling station if that is your preference! Or perhaps even ask your café to use it for your coffee to keep it hot and safe from spilling in your car.
The larger 800ml bottles are $25 each, and the smaller ones $20, if purchased direct from the Te Ipukarea Society office, on the town side of Bamboo Jacks, just before Rarotonga Printing. All funds made from the sale of these bottles will be used to support our work in caring for the Cook Islands environment in one of the five focal areas of the society: waste management, biodiversity, ecologically sustainable development, youth, and climate change.