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ASPA looks for suitable site for recycling program

Executive Director of the American Samoa Power Authority Utu Abe Malae says the utility provider is working on securing a suitable location for its popular recycling program, which is currently on hold — not discontinued.


ASPA customer service manager Ryan Tuato'o said earlier this year that the length of the closure depends on how fast they can get things sorted out and shipped off to their vendor in New Zealand.


In an initial interview, Utu said ASPA is reviewing how the program is being carried out and "how to make it better."


This past weekend, Utu said via email that the new site “will give us more flexibility with implementing the needs of the program, as well as tackling the traffic problem that we experienced at our Tafuna compound.”


When the recycling program was active, hundreds of cars carrying thousands of pounds of recyclables would begin lining up on the main road alongside the ASPA Tafuna compound before the crack of dawn, with lines extending all the way down to the Fagaima area.


Utu said there are “other changes” ASPA is considering and “we hope to resolve and resume this program within the next two to three months.”  Furthermore, “the program is overall beneficial for the community, the environment, and for ASPA, and we are looking forward to re-opening this program.”


The recycling program has been active in the territory since last summer, when it was called the Recycling For Food Initiative. The program became so popular that ASPA extended the program to include non-farmers to use the credit vouchers to pay down their electricity bills.


Utu said in an earlier interview that the recycling program “appears to be working better than other efforts, and we are reviewing our operations at the moment and trying to eliminate the backlog of recyclables."


So is ASPA profiting or losing money with the program?


Tuato’o said ASPA isn’t in it for the money, adding that they anticipate to break even when all the numbers are in. Utu responded to the same question by saying, "We can afford the program to operate with a small loss because there are benefits of extending the life of the sanitary landfill, and cleaning up and protecting the environment, including marine life."