News - May 9, 2023 Site Visit to the Rarotonga Waste Facility
The Ministry of Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) manage the operations of the Resource Recovery Centre which is located at the Rarotonga landfill, and as part of activities associated with the PacWaste Plus programme steering committee meeting, delegates visited the facility.
The visiting delegates were provided an overview of ICI’s efforts to reduce recyclable materials entering the landfill and plans to incentivise the community to recycle, through the proposed Advance Recovery and Disposal Fee (ARDF) scheme.
Participants were informed that recyclable materials, including plastic and glass bottles, and aluminium and tin cans, collected from households and businesses are taken to the Resource Recovery Centre and sorted and processed for export overseas.
The facility includes sorting bays, two industrial balers for compacting plastic bottles and aluminium and tin cans, and a large glass crusher.
Meeting participants touring the recycling facility also had a hands-on experience using a non-mechanical, hand-operated PET and aluminium can crusher, purchased and installed through programme support.
This non-mechanical crusher is currently being trialled on behalf of the Cook Islands Pe Enua (Outer Islands) to determine its suitability for undertaking size reduction of recyclable materials to enable initial processing and more efficient internal shipping through the proposed ARDF scheme.
This equipment may be an effective solution for managing recyclables from smaller outer island populations where power, diesel, and formal mechanical equipment are limited.
ICI is testing the equipment for durability, ease of use, effectiveness, and safety, and ensuring the crushed aluminium cans and PET bottles received at the Rarotonga Resource Recovery Centre are suitable to be baled for export in the industrial baler.
If this trial is successful, handheld crushers will be installed in recycling depots on each of the Pa Enua islands.
The visiting delegates shared experiences on similar smaller-scale operations in their individual countries and how efforts can be enhanced to better manage recyclable materials from ending up in landfills.
Site Visit – Rarotonga Waste Facility Album