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Solution for Samoa’s growing waste problem?

Samoa – More discarded cars and plastic bottles are being encountered on the island of Samoa ‘than ever before’, according to local firm Pacific Recycles. And this ‘growing waste problem’ would best be tackled by processing tyres and PET bottles on the island, says company manager Silafau Loane Sio.

Despite Samoa’s rising waste volumes, recyclers in the area ‘don’t have the machines to process the material here’, Loane Sio points out. Exporting the waste for recycling is too expensive given the small returns. ‘We need to diversify,’ the businessman states.

Roughly 60% of Samoa’s waste is organic while 35%, or 760 000 tonnes, constitutes ‘potential recyclables’, suggest latest figures from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. Loane Sio’s company recycles nearly 25% of the total recyclable material.

In a bid to bolster the viability of the island’s recycling sector, Pacific Recycles has joined forces with Australian recyclers in its network. Success depends largely on help from foreign investors or ‘donor assistance’, its manager says.

Part of the solution, it has been said, would be implementation of container deposit legislation whereby importers pay a levy for each plastic container brought on to the island. The cost would ultimately be passed on to Samoa’s approximately 195 000 consumers who would receive a portion of that levy as a refund on the return of the item.

Such legislation has already proved successful for neighbouring islands Palau and Yap, which have been able to recycle more than 37 million plastic containers in this way since 2011, notes Loane Sio.

Meanwhile, after losing US$ 800 000 by operating a recycling service of its own, the American Samoa Power Authority is now looking for a clean and ‘green’ way out – either by setting up a joint venture with a ‘private entrepreneur’ or via plastics collected for recycling being used as feedstock for its waste-to-energy plant at Futiga.

 

Source: Islands Business

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