Attitudes on recycling improving

Public attitudes to recycling are improving and the Samoa Recycling Waste Management Association plans to increase the distribution of recycling cages by the end of the year.

The association’s President Marina Keil, in response to emailed questions from the Samoa Observer, says the feedback they are getting and seeing from the public after distributing 50 recycling cages has been good.

“Samoa Recycling Waste Management Association has more than 50 recycling cages out in the public,” she said. “And the results have been really good, we see the trend of pick up and collection occurring more often compared to the first time we gave out the cage, it will take time to get used to so slowly but surely.”

The association plans to distribute more recycling cages, but Ms Keil admits that funding constraints restrict them from producing more to meet the demand.

“We are definitely looking at increasing the number of cages by the end of the year because the more recycling cages we distribute the more recyclables we will most likely to collect,” she added. “We're flooded with cage requests, but our funding only allows us to do so many, we have a long waiting list, which is a good sign.

“It means more people are being conscious of our environment and want to play their part in protecting our environment and keeping Samoa clean and beautiful.

“However, we need assistance to be able to procure more cages.”

And the good news is that members of the private sector are also offering support for the waste management initiative.

Ms Keil revealed that the response from the private sector has been great and more firms are joining the initiative.

“Recycling will take time, we must start somewhere.”

Last year the association received support from The Coca-Cola Foundation courtesy of a grant, which enabled it to set up the country’s first plastic bottle recycling scheme in Apia. 

The National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) has also joined the initiative and signed an agreement with the association and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (A.P.T.C.) to provide custom-made segregate waste stations for collecting aluminum cans and plastic bottles for recycling.

The COVID-19 global pandemic also took its toll on the association’s activities last year, though Ms Keil says it was a blessing in disguise, as it enabled their members to review 2020 and are now of the view that 2021 will be an “action year”.

“(COVID-19) has put a toll on the association, it's delayed so many things, but God works in mysterious ways, he's given us more time to sit back and think [and] plan in 2020.

“So 2021, I believe, is more of an action year and apart from the association projects on glass, plastic, e-waste etc we'll take it one day at a time all in God's timing, as we will also be focusing more on raising awareness and promoting recycling.

“Waste is everyone’s responsibility, let’s work together and make reuse reduce and recycle an everyday part of our daily lives.”

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