21 August 2018, Suva, Fiji - Niue is entering a new era on the journey for a Cleaner Pacific with the very first Niue Waste Recycling facility to be built. Three years in the making, the waste recycling facility is close to reality with land now cleared for this establishment which will help the island nation recycle imported goods to be exported offshore. As of June next year single-use plastic bags will also have been phased out as part of new measures by Niue.
The Premier of Niue, Sir Toke Talagi has championed good waste management practices at different forums, actively addressing solutions for all different waste streams on Niue. This has resulted in new initiatives underway.
The Niue Recycling Facility, funded by the Government of Australia with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as the delivery partner, will be operational by the end of 2019. It will start with the basic recyclables of glass bottles, PET plastic bottles, before expanding to recycle other types of materials which include steel cans, aluminium cans, paper and cardboard, E-waste, white goods, used oil, used lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries, scrap steel, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and end-of-life vehicles.
A gap in the Niue waste programme includes end-of-life renewable energy equipment and single-use plastic shopping bags. With the technical assistance and experience of Mr John Wichman, the Government of Niue is slowly putting in place practical measures to address these and other waste streams on Niue. As such, a separate programme under the waste management sector is the phasing out of single-use plastic bags over a 12 month period that started in June 2018.
“We are really pleased by these initiatives and are excited that our new facility is happening. Our grounds were cleared last week which allows us to kick-start the construction,” presented Mr Haden Talagi, Acting Director of the Department of Environment in Niue, during the Clean Pacific Roundtable now underway in Suva, Fiji.
“In anticipation, at the start of this year we began collecting and segregating the recyclables so when our new recycling facility is in action, materials will be ready to process. We’re that eager to get this going.”
Niue is already implementing several recyclable activities, the island currently crushes glass collected from businesses, suppliers and households to repurpose these to fill potholes. Niue is also trialling a shredding machine at their landfill site for the green waste collected if successful an ongoing program will be established. This will help avoid the burning of green waste, it will also reduce the volume of green waste at the landfill by transforming it for composting
The Niue waste recycling facility is just one of a range of activities and plans in place to ensure sustainable waste management on the island remains long term and is not project based. Led by the Project Management and Coordination Unit (PMCU) of Niue in collaboration with the different stakeholders in Government, waste management had been done on an ad hoc basis but development thus far is putting plans into action which have long been overdue.
“We are very pleased to have this facility start, but at the same time, we know we have to get our house in order. We have to put legislation and regulations in place, our waste strategy must be updated, we need to ensure we have the different programmes and systems in place for the different recyclable materials,” said Mr Talagi.
“We need to ensure we have the relevant data collected, baseline data and start connecting people so this new facility runs smoothly. Education and awareness activities must be undertaken now, and not when the facility is ready. We have to get the momentum going and get our people involved, there is a lot to be done between now and then to get this into action.”
Mr Talagi presented on Niue’s plans during a session on coordinated mechanisms in developing public-private partnerships on day two of the Clean Pacific Roundtable.
The Clean Pacific Roundtable 2018 held in Suva, Fiji from 20 – 22 August, 2018 followed by associated events on 23 and 24 August 2018, is coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with the European Union (EU) and other partners.
This is the second CPRT, a Pacific regional event which is held every two years. In 2018 it has brought together over 200 participants from across the Pacific island region to help seek solutions to Pacific waste problems in line with the Cleaner Pacific 2025, the Pacific waste and pollution management strategy for the Pacific.
For further information on the Clean Pacific Roundtable 2018 and the topics, please do visit https://www.sprep.org/clean-pacific-roundtable-2018