During a recent visit to Nauru in November 2014, PREA facilitated a free waste education workshop. Organised through the Naoero Public Health Centre, the workshop was attended by over 20 people from Nauru Clean and Green, Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation (NRC) and the Nursery.  The objective of the workshop was to highlight the importance of good waste management and share some different ways of looking at waste.

In nature there is no such thing as waste. Only humans have the concept of waste and we could learn a lot by looking to nature.

Participants learnt how long different waste items take to break down or biodegrade and why it is important to pick up and properly disposing of waste so that it does not contaminate Nauru’s natural environment for thousands of years into the future.

Participants discussed what impacts of waste were on Nauru.  There was good discussion on a number of issues ranging from the contamination of groundwater which often causes people to get sick, the health impacts of burning rubbish, and the impacts on the corral reel and marine life from both solid and liquid waste.  Participants were surprised to hear that across the pacific, many birds and marine animals die from eating plastic, as the plastic looks like a source of food.

Participants learnt about the four R’s for waste management – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  There was discussion about how we could action the 4 R’s in Nauru and what some of the barriers to good practices were.

Several examples of reusing waste in Nauru were explored and before participants built vertical plastic bottle gardens.

Vertical plastic bottle garden beds

There is a lack of arable land on Nauru and local food production is extremely limited.  Additionally, water is also very scarce in times out drought.  This plastic bottle vertical garden uses waste products to create a low cost, water efficient means to grow some additional nutritious food.

 garden3  garden1
 garden2  garden4a


Plastic bottle broom

Turn plastic bottles into a broom for sweeping outside.


Source: WikiHow

Solar Water Bottle Bulbs

Turn a plastic bottle into the light bulb for use in dark buildings and sheds.


Earthships – Build a home from waste

Car tires, plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans can be used to form the main structure of internal and external walls of a sustainable homes.  The Earthship comes in many different designs for different climates and can be tailored to fit different budget and requirements. Systems for generating electricity, treating graywater and blackwater (sewage), rainwater harvesting, food production, passive cooling (no electricity used) can all be integrated to form a sustainable home.

 G2_Global_model_Earthship_Taos_N.Ms Earthship-tire
Source: By Biodiesel33 (Own work) [ CC-BY-SA-3.0] Source: By Collective Evolution

These links to additional resources will show you how to build all the items made at the workshop

There are hundreds of free how to guides and videos on the internet that you can search for.

Thanks to Ann-Steshia Hubert from the Nauru Ministry of Health for organising the workshop.