This way we can ensure our islands stay beautiful for the future and remain places we can be proud to represent on the big stage.
Traditional kaikai are more enviro-friendly. Cooking food with banana leaves and raurau kikau, drinking nu, and eating with your fingers are better for the environment. Do this instead of giving away plastic cutlery, foil trays and plastic or polystyrene drinking cups.
Consider buying less plastic-wrapped products. Food which comes in plastic has normally been processed in factories and are not as healthy as natural foods. For example freshly caught local fish, locally-grown fruit and vegetables are not only plastic-free but they are more nutritious than packaged foods such as fizzy drinks, chip packets, and noodle packets.
Use reusable bags and water bottles. If everybody used these two items we would cut out two of the most commonly-seen types of litter on own islands: plastic bags and plastic water bottles which are commonly seen in our backyards and beaches.
Shop smarter: If you need to buy foods from the shop, consider what can be recycled and what can not. For example, buy beer or other beverages in aluminium cans rather than glass bottles as aluminium is easily shipped off the island for recycling. Also remember that plastic carrying the numbers 1 and 2 can be recycled while the other numbers can’t.
Grocery shopping? Support local organic growers. If you are a planter, cease using chemical pesticides and herbicides. Most people don’t want food that has been exposed to these sprays as they have potential health risks. Organic is the way to go for both our bodies and for our environment.
Sort and recycle all your household waste, and place it out of reach of dogs. This makes the job easier for the rubbish collectors and ensures as much of our waste is shipped off our island for recycling as possible.
Compost your organic waste. Food scraps can be composted (if not fed to pigs), leaves and garden waste can be composted instead of burning the waste. If you do need to start a fire, ensure the leaves are completely dry (not green) and don’t burn any plastic as this has health impacts on those who breathe in the toxic smoke released by burning plastic.
Through changing to use some or all of these measures, we can ensure our kaikais and celebrations create less waste, which will have benefits for our islands and our environment.
From all of us at Te Ipukarea to everyone in the Cook Islands, a happy Te Maeva Nui!