A delegation from Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) had visited Palau’s Recycling Center in Koror last week to learn and replicate its recycling policy.

Koror State Government Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO) Manager Selby P. Etibek said in an interview with Island Times that CNMI Public Works Secretary James Ada and Solid Waste Management Director Enrique Dela Cruz stayed in Palau for three days last week to personally learn about recycling in Palau.

Etibek said that the two delegates were supposed to arrive with CNMI Governor Ralph Torres but the latter did not make it as he had to stay in Saipan to attend to concerns brought by the typhoon that affected CNMI.

During the three-day visit, the guests from Saipan were toured around the Koror State Recycling Center and had engaged in discussions on Palau’s entire recycling system. Etibek said that the delegation also expressed interest about the Container Deposit Levy Program (CDL) implemented through Palau’s Recycling Act also known as the RPPL 7-24.

Through the national law, Palau imposes 0.10 cents tax for each beverage container for liquor, tea, coffee, and drinks, among others that is being sold in Palau. The funds raised from this, in return, will be used for Palau’s recycling program which includes the fund used for paying 0.05 cents per bottle to those who want to redeem their containers. This scheme encourages people to collect empty beverage containers for money.

“In Saipan, they don’t lack funding so they have money to implement but they don’t have the expert guidance to start,” Etibek said, explaining further that that is where Palau is going to come into the picture.

The program, according to Etibek, dates all the way back to 2006 when the law intended for the implementation of a recycling program was passed but it was only in 2011 when the facility became fully operational.

“So since 2011 until now, we can receive PET Bottles and aluminum cans and glass bottles from the public and we pay 5 cents for each of them,” Etibek explained.

Prior to the program’s implementation, Etibek said that plastic bottles and cans were thrown everywhere in Palau but the existence of the program helped in addressing the problem.

Since its actual implementation in 2011, Etibek said that over $30-M fund had been paid out to the members of the public who redeemed their beverage containers.

“There’s a lot of people out there that had made a lot of money from this,” Etibek said. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)