The Rotary Club of Savusavu has been working with the leading women’s advocacy group,
iSoqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei Cakaudrove, to establish a bottle re-use programme in Savusavu.
It’s a simple and very useful project; people bring their used bottles to a table in the Savusavu market and anyone can collect them and take them away.  Women from the local villages use the bottles for coconut oil, homemade chutneys and jams and even carrying water.  Having a stand at the market makes it easy for women to collect them and then get on the bus to go home.  It’s also easy for locals to drop off their used bottles for the project.
Elenoa Kaisau of iSoqosoqo Vakamarama says, “The local women from the villages are very pleased.  They say that water tastes better when it’s kept in a glass bottle and a lot of them prefer them for keeping coconut oil, especially when it’s a gift.  When the rules on social gatherings are lifted there will be a surge of weddings and coconut oil is often a popular gift.”
The programme was first established by Angela Sparrow of Australian Volunteer International.  Initially the bottles were all brought to the women’s bure and stored there.  But this became increasingly hard to manage from both the perspective of storage and collection as the iSoqosoqo Vakamarama bure is sited up a steep hill.  In addition, Angela was frequently answering requests to deliver to the villages and personally driving out to deliver bottles.  This was never going to be a viable, long term model.
Then Christie and Jeff Bowers of the Rotary Club of Savusavu got involved and proposed that the collection point be moved to town.  They asked Elenoa Kaisau to approach the Savusavu Town Council for help and the Town Council immediately put her in touch with the market manager, Wame Nabete.  Wame organised a table for their use and waived all charges.  Elenoa has also enlisted the help of local taxi drivers who have been very supportive, bringing bottles down from the bure at no charge.
Christie Bowers comments, “It’s good to find a use for these bottles.  We’re helping provide a useful community service at the same time as contributing to efforts to re-use and recycle bottles – both glass and plastic.  It’s very much a joint effort between Rotary, iSoqosoqo Vakamarama and the Town Council and I’m happy that these bottles are being re-used and not going to landfill.  We’ve been so pleased to help make it happen.”
Local vendor, Ben Moli, uses the table to sell bu and in exchange he makes sure that the table is tidy and well maintained.  Elenoa also goes down to double check on a daily basis.
From left to right above: Wame Nabete, Christie Bowers, Ben Moli and Elenoa Kaisau
All in all, a real community effort.
What is needed?
  • wine bottles with caps or corks in boxes or tidy bags,
  • small glass tonic/seltzer bottles with caps,
  • 1.0 to 5.0 litre size plastic bottles with caps (bagged or boxed),
  • glass jars with lids suitable for jams and chutneys.
Where can I take them?
The market table is:
  • located in front of the market under a shady tree in the corner adjacent to the taxi parking area,
  • close to the street so that people delivering items by car can park very close to the table,
  • close to the bus station so that those wishing to transport items can easily carry them to the buses to place them in the cargo areas.
For further info contact: Christie Weiser Bowers 906 8582 or