United Nations
Reduction of POPs and green house gas emissions through improvements in waste management in the Cook Islands GEF SGP
by Te Ipukarea Society Cook Islands (Civil society organization)
The project aims to tackle the generation of waste (that currently often ends up in the ocean, or being burnt) in several ways:

1. Source biodegradable and reusable food and beverage containers from overseas and local sources, and provide these to The Creative Centre (TCC), a non profit school established in 2001 as a life skills programme that catered for adults with an impairment (see http://www.creativecentre.edu.ck. TCC supports people with disabilities by raising funds from donations and selling art and craft goods made by the students. Support TCC to sell the biodegradeable and reuseable products at their stall at the Punanga Nui Market. We will encourage and assist TCC to set up a similar stall at the Muri Night Market. Sustainability will be achieved with funds going into a revolving fund to repurchase the containers, with any surplus used to support the learning activities of the TCC. In Aitutaki the Aitutaki Consevation Trust (ACT) will provide on the ground support in getting food vendors and schools engaged with the activities.

2. promote the use of a hygienic washing centre at each location, which will allow vendors to sell food with plates and cutlery that can be washed and reused.

3.an awareness campaign to encourage people to use these alternatives, and to discourage the food sellers from using non-biodegradable containers which are filling our landfill.

4. initiate an awareness campaign on the hazards of burning rubbish, particularly man-made plastics which release dioxins into the air and are absorbed by living organisms, some of which are a food source to Cook Island people. Waste is listed as the 3rd most significant source of green house gas emissions in the latest Cook Islands National Communication to the UNFCCC.

5. In support of the Ministry of Educations Green Schools Policy, supply compost bins to every school in the Cook Islands, and follow up to raise awareness on composting through demonstration sites and training, to discourage burning of household and garden waste, and promote the use of the compost as organic fertiliser.

6. Supply worm farms initially to 10 schools in the Cook Islands, for a similar purpose. Worm castings and worm tea will be promoted as an organic alternative to chemical fertilisers. training courses conducted in their correct use.

7. Ongoing work with the schools to upscale these pilot composters and worm farms using locally available materials to build larger versions. Where possible, these local materials will be removed from the existing waste stream, eg car tyres, wooden pallets, construction waste.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Reduce the burning of organic waste on all the islands, and promote composting as a source of nutrients for school and home gardens, through provision of 10 worm farms and composting bins to all schools in the Cook Islands
  • Plastics product bans or restrictions
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse
  • At least 50 tonnes avoided Styrofoam and plastic food packaging
Reduce or eliminate the use of styrofoam and non-biodegradable food packaging by food vendors, through procuring and promoting alternatives and reusable containers. Working with partners to have these available at private sector food markets.
Reduce the burning of organic waste on all the islands, and promote composting as a source of nutrients for school and home gardens though provision of composting bins and worm farms and training in use to all schools in the Cook Islands
In-kind contribution
$110,000 school and private sector subsidies
Financing (in USD)
48,920 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
National Steering Committee of the GEF SGP and TIS staff volunteers all input.
Basic information
Time-frame: 07/2015 - 08/2017
Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) The Creative Centre(CSO) , The Cook Islands Government Ministry of Education (Government), GEF SGP (UN Entity), UNDP (UN Entity), Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce (Private Sector) Muri Night Market (private sector).
Ocean Basins
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Beneficiaries include all schools in the Cook Islands, including the Creative Centre school, and the education system in general by assisting with the green schools programme. Letters of support are available from the Ministry of Education, the Creative
Contact information
Liam Kokaua, Project Officer, l.kokaua@tis.org.ck, +68221144
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Other SDGs
United Nations