NES’s Senior Environmental Partnerships Coordinator Muraai Herman attended the Sustainable Financing for Waste Management Study Tour which included visits to 15 different waste management sites as well as conference sessions. He says they saw the inner workings of facilities and how waste materials can be recycled, repurposed or reused.
“It was an intense two weeks of hard-nosed questioning about the various schemes and challenges being faced across Australia. Seeing the different schemes showed us how we could reduce the waste ending up in our already full landfill.
“It also showed the potential for earning revenue from waste for government and private sector players in the waste industry, and to shift views so people see waste as not just trash but money,” he says.
Mr Herman says the key challenge now is how this large-scale approach could be modified to suit the Cook Islands’ situation.
“We need a scheme that reduces the volume of landfill waste and we need to source funds to ensure a circular economy approach. This would mean recyclable materials and hazardous waste is exported to New Zealand and Australia for proper treatment and disposal.”
The tour was organised by the Pacific-European Union Waste Management Programme (PacWastePlus) and the Global Environment Facility ISLANDS Programme.