“We have to make sure we don’t drown in our own waste,” says CI General Transport business development manager Jessie Sword.
“Rarotonga will always have imports and anything that we bring in, if it’s not sustainable, needs to be shipped out again.
“We need to work collectively to reduce waste at our landfills and the haphazard dumping of rubbish, which is a big problem here. We need to take responsibility and work together toward protecting our environment.”
The collection programme is funded by the government.
“We can pick up, but we will charge a fee, so use your ute or borrow a ute and bring your whiteware down.”
The yard re-opened yesterday following the holiday break. Weekday hours are from 8am to 4pm and until 12 midday on Saturday.
“A collection base is set up at the gate, and then you just need to go in and sign off with the guy at the office,” says Sword
The whiteware is then compacted and packed for export to the scrap metal dealers in New Zealand.
Sword says the public/private partnership between government and CI General Transport will enable the island to offload some of its whiteware problem, and hopefully stop people from depositing it on the side of the road or dumping it in the undergrowth somewhere out of sight.
“Curbside collectors will not collect it and it becomes a rusted eyesore for locals and tourists. It takes decades to rust away.”
Sword says the flow of dropped-off items is continual, with island residents keen to take advantage of the free service.
“We are encouraging the outer islands to start sorting their rubbish as well and some residents in the southern group are sending their whiteware and aluminium recycling on a barge back to Rarotonga.”
Jessie believes importers should be more aware that the products they bring into the country need to be sustainable, so they don’t impact on the environment.
“We live in a convenient world and want things now, but we have to take some responsibility on that as consumers and look to buy sustainably.”
Meanwhile, CI General Transport is also seeking funding for another electronic waste collection and plans to resume that service in March.