News - Jul 10, 2024 Vanuatu full steam ahead in Managing Container Waste

Vanuatu’s Department of Environment Protection and Conservation (DEPC) is serious about improving waste management in the country.

Under the guidance of the Minister of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology and Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Hon. Minister Ralph Regenvanu, and in partnership with a Council of Minister approved multi-agency Working Group, the DEPC team is working closely with global experts to design a Product Stewardship Scheme (PSS) to manage beverage container waste in Vanuatu.

“We see a PSS scheme as an effective solution for waste management in Vanuatu.  This is our year to get the scheme designed,” says Roselyn Bue, Senior Officer at the DEPC.

“With the Working Group and other donors such as J-PRISM II, we have been researching schemes 2017.  The deposit element will incentivise our communities to recycle their beverage containers, and the fee elements will provide financing for the materials handling / export and scheme administration.

“A PSS scheme will assist Vanuatu to sustainable manage our beverage container waste for the long term and provide economic benefits for our communities.”

During the latest Working Group Meeting on 26 June, Minister Hon. Regenvanu reemphasised that the goals of the scheme include both environmental and social benefits for Vanuatu. It is designed to reduce litter and improve recycling, provide for equality and create new employment opportunities in all provinces across Vanuatu.

Dr. Christina Shaw, CEO of Vanuatu Environmental Science Society, and key member of the Working Group is keen to see the scheme progress.

“In other countries we hear that it is the Private Sector importers and manufacturers of beverage containers blocking schemes or slowing them down. Here in Vanuatu the biggest importers and manufacturers are real proponents for a scheme, they want the scheme to start, they see the benefit for Vanuatu,” she said.

Searious Business have been engaged though the EU-funded SPREP-implemented PacWastePlus programme to assist the DEPC and the Working Group to finalise the scheme design for Vanuatu.

The Searious Business bring expertise of PSS / deposit schemes from around the world and will undertake consultation with scheme stakeholders and complete financial modelling of scheme options for DEPC and the Working Group to make informed decisions.

Searious Business will then assist the DEPC with scheme legislative drafting elements, and developing the operating procedures and contract templates to allow a scheme to be “tuned on” when approved by the Vanuatu Government.