Plastic ban tipped for Cook Islands

Friday January 12, 2018 Written by Published in Local

A ban on single use non-biodegradable plastic, including bags and polystyrene takeaway containers, will come into force in Vanuatu at the end of this month, and the Cook Islands could soon be following suit.


Vanuatu’s Council of Ministers agreed last month to stop single-use bags being imported and manufactured in the country after a study around the main island of Efate showed up a large amount of plastic litter.

The ban starts on 31 January, and the government says local plastic bag manufacturers will only be allowed to use biodegradable plastics from that date.

Support for alternatives like traditional baskets will be provided, and companies are to be given a grace period of six months to use up their current stock of single-use plastics and polystyrene takeaway boxes.

WATSAN director Jaime Short said the Cook Islands could pursue the same style of ban, although it will be done in a step-by-step fashion so not to create too much of a shock for residents

“There are definitely some items that we on the Solid Waste committee want to ban, such as plastic bags, products containing micro beads and plastic straws,” she said.

“Our goal is to eventually control what is coming on to the island, depending on the quality and efficiency of products.”

Last month saw the submissions on the single-use polystyrene ban policy pass with no objections, with a submission to Cabinet for consideration being the next step.

            - CL/RNZ

1 comment

  • Comment Link Nicola Elliott Friday, 12 January 2018 14:00 posted by Nicola Elliott

    It is wonderful hear of the plastic bag and Styrofoam container ban in Vanuatu. I wonder if the Vanuatu and Cook Islands Governments would also consider banning or disallowing the importation of single use coffee cups? My husband and I were fortunate enough to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary in Raratonga in September 2017. We had a wonderful time, enjoying the relaxing local lifestyle, beautiful environment, ease of transport, local foods and warm hospitality. I was however, shocked by the use by locals and visitors of "disposable" coffee cups. If one cannot sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in a ceramic or china cup at a café in Raratonga, then you are missing the point! I live in Sydney and despair at the waste we produce and throw out in the form of plastics, coffee cups .... too many items to list. We are moving too slowly to reduce or eliminate the use of these environmentally unfriendly, unnecessary items but perhaps in the Cook Islands, and in Vanuatu, it is not too late to stop the use of yet another wasteful, environmentally unfriendly "time saving" device!
    All the very best,
    Nicola Elliott

Leave a comment