Monday, December 6, 2010

Bring Your Own Cup Panel Discussion: Challenges of Dealing with our Rubbish

Over 50 members and friends attended our Panel Discussion on November 3rd. The audience learnt that despite kerbside collection of recycling being unsuccessful, there are a number of other places where recyclables can be delivered. “I was so pleased to see so many people supportive of recycling,” says Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning Otheniel Tangianau after the discussion. “It encourages me to really focus on this now,” he says.

Key points learnt at the discussion were:

  • the departure tax no longer contributes to the Environment Protection Fund $14 million/year is collected by government in import levies on cars, alcohol, tobacco, vegetables, pork and fuel.
  • Less than a million is allocated to kerbside collection, recycling and landfill management
  • Each year, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning have not succeeded in convincing the Budget Committee to increase their budget allocation to ensure recycling occurs
  • A waste audit is needed to determine volumes of each type of recyclable (plastic, glass, aluminium, steel etc). This data can then be used to advertise the tender for the next kerbside collection contract
Recommendations that came out of the discussion include:

  • making more noise about the issue to grab and maintain government’s attention including recycling as a priority in next year’s budget (NES to send draft policy statement for 2011/2012 budget to TIS for comment)
  • changing policy to ensure commercial properties pay for the collection of their rubbish
  • requesting government to reinstate the Environment Protection Fund
  • doing a waste audit and then using the data to advertise the tender for the next kerbside collection contract (tender sooner than later)
  • re-exporting really hazardous stuff
  • allocating import levies to infrastructure development
The Panel included Vaitoti Tupa (Director, National Environment Service), Tamarii Tutangata (2010 Budget Committee), Otheniel Tangianau (Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning) and John Wichman (Recycle Cook Islands).

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