If you are one of the lucky ones who has visited Easter Island (Rapa Nui for the natives) or if you have informed a little about it, you will know that it is the most isolated inhabited island on the planet. That may sound idyllic, and to some extent it is, but it also means that it is one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world.
One of the great problems of the island is the management of the waste that is produced there. Every year more people come to Rapa Nui attracted by its history, its mysteries, its landscapes, its calm and its fantastic stone sculptures called moai. Tourism grows just as its inhabitants grow and with it, the generation of waste and garbage increases.
Concerned about this problem and with the aim of decreasing (hopefully to zero) the number of plastic water bottles used in Easter Island, a group of entrepreneurs has created Aguas Vai Tea, a company whose leitmotiv is #NoMasPlasticoRapaNui or #NoMorePlasticRapaNui .
What is the idea of Aguas Vai Tea and how does it work?
Aguas Vai Tea has created a water treatment plant, where the running water of the island is purified and mineralized , and then is bottled in 20 liter barrels.
The water of Easter Island is drinkable, however it is very heavy and has a characteristic flavor that is not very pleasant. During the purification process, Vai Tea gets a much richer water to the palate and adds the minerals that the body needs to maintain adequate hydration.
However, although improving the quality of water is already a good idea, the best thing is that instead of selling it in individual bottles (which would generate more plastic and therefore more waste) they sell it in large recyclable bottles.
Although bottles can be bought by private individuals for domestic use, nowadays visitors can also find them in many local businesses (shops, restaurants, etc.), which have become “recharging points”. See map.
The idea is that everyone who visits Easter Island uses a single bottle (plastic or not) and that during your visit you can recharge it with Vai Tea water, as many times as you need. That way you will not have to buy bottles of water again and again and therefore you will avoid generating more plastic waste.
The model is beneficial for the environment but also for the pocket, because the water recharging points offer 100 cc for only $100 (chilean pesos), which means that filling a bottle of half a liter of water costs just $500, almost a third of what it costs on the island to buy a bottle of water of the same size.
Aguas Vai Tea also offers some beautiful stainless steel bottles in different colors, which are made without using plastics (being coherent with their philosophy) and that can be purchased at many stores and charging points. These bottles, besides being very practical to recharge water whenever you need it, are a nice souvenir because they carry the most representative image of Rapa Nui, the moai statue.
We can all together take care of the environment of Rapa Nui
Caring for the fragile ecosystem of Easter Island is a task for everyone, visitors and residents. We can all do our little contribution, especially taking into account the difficulty that exists on the island to manage waste.
Each plastic bottle that does not enter Rapa Nui counts (#oneless). So, you know, if you visit Easter Island, remember to take (or buy) your own reusable bottle and recharge water at the Vai Tea Water Refill Points (look for the symbol that identifies them). That way, you can drink water of better quality, save money (it’s much cheaper than buying bottled water) and above all, you’ll be contributing to keep the island free of plastic waste.