Community Moves Recycling Project to the Next Level


There are many recycling projects around the Pacific to try to recover valuable materials from community waste streams. However, the Tahitian community of Faa’a is trying to find ways for their citizens not only to recycle but also to gain financially by involvement in a creative program to create valuable products.

Earlier this year, the community of Faa’a partnered with the Faa’a Tahiti Takaroa Stake (group of congregations) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the first phase of a project called “I love my Island, I love my Town, I reduce my waste.” In that project, the community created recycling locations and printed materials explaining how to recycle in their communities.


Tahitians often refer to their island with a very old and powerful Polynesian word, “Fenua”, which means island but also means Earth, making the larger connection between a local place and the planet on which we all live.

The next phase of the “I Love my Fenua” project is called “Upcycling.” This concept seeks to create value for recyclable materials by finding ways to convert them directly into other products by the households that create the waste. This approach was recently discussed in a meeting of the stake Self-Reliance Committee which leads the partnership with the city.

At that meeting, the committee heard a presentation by Nathalie Convert, a well-known entrepreneur in French Polynesia, who has turned her skills into finding ways to make recycling a profitable business for cities and their citizens through upcycling.

Her non-profit community project is called “Resilience Fenua Development” and seeks to create new value for household, industrial and agricultural waste. Examples include cardboard boxes, fabric scraps, plastic bottles, tires or fishing rope which are transformed into Tawashi (Japanese sponges), baskets, groundsheets, brooms, biodegradable dishes, reusable shopping bags, flowerpots for vegetables and household bins.

Nathalie believes this waste processing could create jobs for people right in the community who are unemployed, furloughed, or those who would like to have additional income, and provides the means to generate immediate income by learning and making these new products.

The programme provides the training, tools and materials for one year to people who sign up and assists with marketing of the finished products.

After a first meeting with Nathalie, the stake provided training for the leaders of the wards (congregations) who looked for candidates who could join the programme and provide financial aid if needed. 80 people volunteered and are now working.

“In this period of pandemic when the social and economic crisis is hitting Polynesian households very hard, this creative project could be a real blessing for families in financial difficulty,” said Faa’a Stake President Harold Teivao.

He also noted that Ms. Convert has experience in manufacturing food with local resources such as from kitchen gardens and subsistence crops. He believes that this could be a link between the stake project in Faa’a to reduce waste and the one in Takaroa to improve food self-reliance.

Genevieve Mana, Assistant Stake Communication Director

 “Volunteers in this program will reap benefits according to the efforts they put in. But above all, they will regain hope for a better life, a taste for work, improved self-confidence and get on a path to ensure the autonomy of their home and the joy and peace that stem from a more stable household.”

Kahana Tefaaite, Student at the University of French Polynesia

“I decided to follow this program because I want to be self-reliant and be able to finance a personal project.”

Vaite Mare, Employee

“ Because of the Covid-19, my husband and I lost a great portion of our salaries. We decided to be part of the Resilience program to compensate for our losses and continue to financer other projects by involving the whole family in this undertaking.

Shine Dauphin, Entrepreneur

“With my husband, we decided to increase our financial autonomy and this is an effective tool to do that. In terms of upcycling, I chose “materials” and my husband chose “plastics. We are excited to get started.”

Los artículos de esta sección no son oficiales pero han sido tomados de una fuente confiable y acreditada. La traducción es automática y puede dejar mucho que desear, sin embargo, a pesar de estas deficiencias, se ha realizado un esfuerzo para poner la información al alcance del público de habla hispana. Para ver el artículo completo original en inglés, consulta la siguiente Fuente:

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