In a new schedule to be announced by Infrastructure Cook Islands’ Waste Management team by September, each home on the island will be provided with one collection day per week with the service operating from Monday to Saturday.
Waste Management director Jaimie Short said currently, some households receive up to three collections per week.
Short said the new schedule is a way of improving the Rarotonga Refuse and Recycling Collection Services and to improve efficiencies in waste management across Rarotonga.
“In other countries overseas, homes receive a collection service once per week. The cost of carrying out the schedule is also increasing therefore an effort to reduce the cost through improving efficiencies is our new approach,” Short said.
Reducing the collection days is just one measure towards improvements.
Short said they were also looking at making changes to the commercial properties who are currently serviced during the same domestic collection programme.
The new contract will include collecting of up to 120 litres of each recyclable type only from commercial properties who use the roadside collection service. General refuse will continue at the discretion of the contractor.
“The new tender document for the collection will soon be advertised. Infrastructure Cook Islands is looking forward to implementing new policies and procedures that have been in the pipeline for the last two years, ready for the new contract,” Short added.
Infrastructure secretary Diane Charlie-Puna said: “It would be very encouraging if our community does their part to help us improve our operations and reduce waste to landfill through proper sorting at the household level. This benefits us all in reducing the costs associated with managing waste and reducing waste to landfill.”
Despite the upcoming changes, Short reiterated people need to help in reducing volume to the landfill by separating recyclables from general waste.
The recyclable types are plastic bottles marked as recyclable, glass bottles and jars, aluminium cans and clean tin food cans, she said.
“Food contamination reduces the value of recyclables and putting food scraps in household waste makes the working environment for our staff very unpleasant, so we plead with everyone to ensure their household waste and recyclables are fairly clean of food scraps
“Electrical appliances, gadgets, batteries and furniture are not included in the roadside collection service. Recycle Cook Islands, a subsidiary of General Transport accepts electronic waste, steel, batteries and many other types of potentially hazardous waste. Help us protect our environment and human health and well-being.”
Short said this is an effort by the government to achieve the national goals of promoting sustainable practices and effectively managing solid waste.