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Letter: Recycling in Rarotonga

Monday 4 March 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letter: Recycling in Rarotonga

Dear Editor, Recently back from holidays in Rarotonga we enjoyed a month of chilling out in Vaimaanga amongst other things reading the Cook Islands News each day.

The article published in Cook Islands News on the 17/2/2024 concerning the tackling of waste management challenges was informative and challenging for the people of Rarotonga in their pursuit of ways to eliminate household waste.

There are large amounts of glass being collected from kerbside from household use and the purchase of specialised equipment by using a state-of-the-art glass crusher to address the mounting glass bottle waste by the Waste Management Division.

Claytoncy Tauraraii expressed interest in ideas for projects that could use the glass and glass sand produced. Expanding on possible projects there is an opportunity to use the recycled glass for the manufacture of glass tiles and glass wall bricks and blocks. These products are relatively easy to make and are ecofriendly.

The glass tiles, bricks and blocks can be used in a variety of applications and are non-absorptive and do not hold water, they also do not grow mildew which is great for the tropics. They can be used for showers, floors, walls, backsplashes and tiling in swimming pools, their applications are endless. These new products could be used throughout the Cook Islands in both domestic and commercial building projects, but also a new export opportunity exists for the Cook Islands creating a new revenue stream.

Households can also reduce landfill in many ways, we caught up with our good friend Victoria Charles from Victoria Garden Centre, what a delight to spend time with Victoria and her family. Victoria and I both love plants and it is this synergy regarding plants that keeps us connected each time we visit Raro.

On this visit we did the must see garden tour and admired the sheer diversification of the plants Victoria and her father grow in a variety of containers both new and recycled. Victoria and her father’s clever use of recycled containers got my attention on this visit to the garden centre. One of the simple but striking ideas was the succulents planted in recycled golden syrup cans that are attached to the fence, not only aesthetically pleasing the way they were grouped together but also the repurposing of the containers for plants, this is a win win for the environment and a very cost-effective way of growing plants.

Recycled washing machine barrels and other items planted with plants that would normally go to landfill added to the ambience. It really was another way of using your imagination to go green and help the planet, enjoying recycling and being creative.

Suewellen Harradine