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Green as!

Wednesday 17 November 2010 | Published in Regional


Canoeing Association

enlists Eco Partners

Vaka Eiva 2010 Eco Partners are ensuring this year’s tournament will be the most environmentally-friendly to date.

The Cook Islands Trading Corporation (CITC), Snowbird Laundry, Vaima Water, Cook Islands News, and Club Raro have each implemented green-themed initiatives to be run in conjunction with the week-long international paddling competition.

Vaka Eiva 2010 co-ordinator Victoria Dearlove said officials would be keeping an eye on the sorting, collection, and disposal of waste generated by this year’s event, in order to compare it with previous years.

“A waste audit was done for Vaka Eiva last year, so now we have hard facts and figures about exactly what was generated, which we can measure against the success of this year’s green theme initiatives. We’ve also got help from the Ministry of Agriculture which is going to remove the rubbish, and the National Environment Service which is providing green police to make sure people are recycling and using the right bins throughout the event.”

“It’s great to get that support in kind, because we don’t just want money, but this way we get help with things we would otherwise have to write a cheque for.”

Cook Islands News

For the second year, Cook Islands News is supplying paddlers, officials, and supporters of Vaka Eiva 2010 with re-useable back packs, in an effort to reduce the demand for plastic bags.

One thousand back branded packs will be distributed, and users are encouraged to make the most of them – from supermarket shopping to training.

Cook Islands News managing editor John Woods says in the last three years, the company has made a commitment to active involvement in conservation and preservation of the environment.

Becoming a Vaka Eiva Eco Partner represented that commitment, among other initiatives within the newspaper operation, he said.

“We have phased out all metal platemaking along with toxic chemicals in our printing process, including pure alcohol. We also now use eco-friendly inks, so even the ink that ends up on the newsprint – which is the most eco-friendly form of man-made paper because it’s not bleached – is an ink that breaks down, as does the newsprint.”

The company recycles used newsprint in a variety of ways, and encourages others in the community to follow suit.

Old newspapers are collected on site and distributed to other businesses and organisations on Rarotonga, including the Esther Honey Foundation Animal Clinic which uses them to line animal enclosures and holding areas.

Rental vehicle firms also use old newspapers to clean windows and glass, and the local maire exporter uses it to wrap and pack fresh clippings for direct export to Honolulu in Hawaii.


Replacing plastic and styrofoam picnic ware with products made from sugar cane left over from the extraction of juice is this year’s sustainable contribution from the CITC.

The company is providing the biodegradable and environmentally-friendly cutlery and plate ware for all official functions during the canoeing festival.

Dearlove said the most waste generated during Vaka Eiva was utensils and picnic ware from functions, and so the CITC agreed to help target the catering side of things in respect of its commitment to the event’s green theme.

“At least now we know that even if the stuff from functions goes into the landfill, it will break down because it’s biodegradable. We’ve also got co-operation from local pig farmers, who will come and collect all the food scraps left over from functions, and put it to good use.”

Dearlove said CITC was also supplying Vaka Eiva 2010’s three food suppliers and catering companies with the biodegradable utensils and picnic ware for a special price.

“So all our vendors are encouraged to use it, too.”

The catering equipment is made from 100 per cent sugar cane fibre, which is a renewable resource and can be manufactured into many common plastic or paper-based products, as an environmentally healthy alternative.

Most plastic or paper-based products are derived from petroleum, are non-biodegradable, and cause pollution.

The sugar cane ware is not coated and bleached by oxygen only.

Club Raro

Club Raro is doing its bit by supplying nu (young coconuts) to paddlers, who thrive on the natural thirst-quencher and isotonic beverage.

Nu is rich in electrolytes which help rehydrate the body and stave off fatigue.

As nu is all natural, the remains can be fed to animals or disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.

Local schools are also involved in the supply of nu to paddlers, as a fundraising initiative.

Pacific Spring

Also reducing the demand for plastic bottles during Vaka Eiva 2010 is Vaima Water, which will distribute re-useable drink bottles to every competitor, supporter, and volunteer of the festival for a fifth consecutive year.

Complimentary or discounted water refills will also be provided by the local company.


Snowbird Laundry is providing all toilets at Vaka Eiva 2010 venues with its disposable sanitary bins, in a bid to facilitate the clean-burning of sanitary product waste, plasters, bandages, tissues, and condoms.

The company’s bins are made from recycled paper and leave no toxic residue when incinerated in the furnace at Rarotonga’s airport.