Published on 1st October 2013
The Vanuatu town of Luganville has clocked up another recycling first, thanks to VSA volunteer Mary O’Reilly.
The Luganville Municipality, which earlier this year started running Vanuatu’s first kerbside cardboard recycling scheme for businesses and the country’s first market composting scheme, has now started a scheme to recycle used printer toner cartridges, as well as old mobile phones and chargers.
Mary, a waste management specialist who is working with the Municipality to help reduce waste in Sanma province, has helped set up a partnership between several local and New Zealand companies which will see the cartridges and phones being collected in Luganville then sent to New Zealand for recycling.
The three companies are Luganville supermarket LCM and New Zealand companies Croxley Recycling and shipping company Pacific Direct Line (PDL).
Croxley Recycling has given the town 14 collection boxes where local businesses and members of the public can drop off their used toner cartridges and old mobile phones and chargers. LCM will collect and store their contents and, once they have enough, the cartridges and phones will be shipped to New Zealand free of charge by PDL for recycling at Croxley Recycling’s Auckland plant.
The plastic recycled from the cartridges is used to make a range of different products such as coat hangers and electric fence insulators, and the metal is sent to a metal recycler. Even the toner gets recycled – it is used to make paint.
The new scheme is one of the several actions identified in the Sanma Luganville Municipality Waste Management Plan 2013–2016. Mary says that recycling the printer cartridges and phones will help take pressure off the local landfill.
“If they go to the landfill they just sit there and don’t break down, and they have the potential to become quite toxic,” she says.
She says recycling old office products is standard practice in countries like New Zealand, but it is difficult to do in Vanuatu because there are no recycling plants.
“We are very lucky to have had such great support from Croxley Recycling and PDL – and of course LCM – so that we can start dealing more effectively with this waste stream.”
She says that at this stage it is expected a shipment of will be sent to New Zealand for recycling once a year.