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Country Project Cook Islands


Cook Islands rely primarily on the disposal of waste to landfills, but the amount of waste received is exceeding the capacity of landfills and to continue to dispose of waste to landfill has significant costs, both environmental and financial. The focus of Infrastructure Cook Islands is on reducing solid waste to landfill, and they are focussing their PacWastePlus investment to support the implementation of an effective Sustainable Financing system for recoverable and recyclable items.

Project Description

Current situation

Items are imported into the Cook Islands but there are limited viable options for their end-of-life management and/or export. As such, most items imported are disposed of at landfills or stockpiled on vacant land.


What is the Cook Islands Project About?

The Cook Islands seek to implement a Sustainable Financing system (known as the Advance Recovery and Disposal Fee) to fund the collection and recycling of specific recoverable items, diverting them from landfills by providing an incentive for consumers to return these goods so they do not become a waste issue managed on island. Project activities include:

  • legislation to provide a long-term ability for the Cook Islands to collect and process targeted recyclable, bulky and electronic items
  • facilities to enable the collection and processing of ARDF recyclable items from all islands in the Cook Islands
  • awareness programme designed to raise awareness of the ARDF and change household and community waste practices


Future situation

Cook Islands has been working towards the design and implementation of this sustainable financing system for many years and are very happy to utilise the PacWastePlus project to partially fund the system design and implementation.

Project resources

Browse through all the resources published from this project.

Frequently Asked Questions

• By 2022, have a legislative environment in the Cook Islands that provides for the implementation and long-term operation of the Advance Recovery Fee
• By 2023, have an Advance Recovery Fee system in operation in the Cook Islands, including the facilities and equipment required to operate collection points on Rarotonga and in the Pa Enua
• By 2023, have households and communities in Rarotonga and in the Pa Enua effectively participating in the Advance Disposal Fee

• Changed global consumption patterns; to a disposable society
• Limited ability to manage waste in a sustainable way
• Reliance on landfill and island dumps
• Landfill nearing capacity

• ARDF system established in legislation providing a financially sustainable recycling industry
• 90%* capture rate of ARF items, resulting in 90% reduction of ARF items disposed at dumps/landfill
• All Cook Islanders actively engaged in recyclables management generating income through the redemption of products