The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) has revealed plans to expand recycling services in Samoa but ferrous metals will be left to the private sector.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, the Principal Waste Management Officer for M.N.R.E, Ali’imuamua Setoa Apo, said a pilot source separation programme is being run by M.N.R.E in two villages and four primary schools.
In the villages of Apia and Vaiala, for example, awareness programmes are being conducted and residents are being given reusable sacks to fill with recyclable cans and bottles. These are collected every Saturday.
At Apia Primary, Tanugamanono Primary, Falefitu Primary and St. Mary’s Primary School, cages for recyclable bottles and cans are being placed with general waste bins.
The same recyclable cages are also being placed in some public places.
A private company, Pacific Recycle is then responsible for exporting the recyclable scrap non-ferrous metal from these collections.
Ali’imuamua said they are looking at expanding recycling services in the country. “What we are planning now from a Ministry point of view is a special collection for recyclables,” he said.
This would take the form of a household recycling collection alongside the normal household waste collection potentially once a month.
“We have the waste collection programme. There is no segregation at source so we are trying to introduce a special collection in that collection for our recyclable materials.”
This system would be similar to that currently being piloted in Apia and Vaiala.
Another initiative in the works is a Container Deposit Levey Program which has been successful in “Micronesian nations,” said Ali’imuamua.
This would involve a levy on the import customs, but then upon returning a recyclable can or bottle to a collection depot the returner would be paid a small sum. If all goes to plan it could be finalised by the end of the end of the year said Mr Apo. However there are no plans for assisting companies to export ferrous scrap metal. Mr Apo said that private companies will have to continue to rely of market prices. “You’ve got to look at the market price. When the market price go up, then they export.” Speaking to the Samoa Observer earlier this week both Pacific Recycle and Waste Management admitted that since steel prices had plummeted they have no longer been able to export ferrous scrap metal.
Consequentially these businesses have ceased picking up ferrous scrap metal such as car bodies from people in the community who have now been left without a recycling option.
Marina Keil, manager of Waste Management highlighted the public health overlap with recycling.
“Recycling not only benefits the landfill but ridding bulky ferrous scrap also ties into the health sector eliminating nesting places for mosquitos that have caused chikungunya, malaria and what not.”
However now ferrous scrap metal such as car bodies may be ending up in Tafaigata Sanitary Landfill Facility and for the moment ferrous scrap metal recycling in Samoa remains at a standstill.