Making money out of Papua New Guinea’s waste


Professional waste management is an emerging service industry in Papua New Guinea. Business Advantage PNG spoke to Kori Chan of Total Waste Management, which is bringing world class waste disposal standards to PNG.

Total Waste Management's Kori Chan

Total Waste Management’s Kori Chan

Port Moresby-based Total Waste Management has been operating for just two years, having found its niche providing a much-needed service for a number of blue chip businesses seeking waste management done to world class standards and practices.

‘We take a holistic approach to waste management,’ says Managing Director, Kori Chan.

‘We’re predominantly involved in the industrial waste space, providing a range of specialised services for predominantly the mining, oil and gas industries.’

There is currently no oil recycling facilities in Papua New Guinea, so the waste is taken to Australia for processing.

‘I guess one of the biggest milestones for our company over the last 18 months, would be that we’ve exported up to half a million litres of waste oil and 50 shipping containers of harmful wastes from PNG.

‘We are the only company in PNG that has a number of Waigani Basel Convention permits, which are international waste disposal permits.’

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It all started on a surfing trip

TWM is a majority-owned PNG company. Chan’s partners are based in Australia, including Hazmat Australia Pacific. Chan himself is the nephew of former PM Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan.

Thirty-three year old Kori Chan and his (now) partners met in Papua New Guinea on a surfing trip, when they researched the waste industry (or the lack thereof) in PNG. It was about the time of the LNG plant construction and his partner’s knowledge of the waste industry in Australia was ‘invaluable’ when it came to meeting the waste disposal requirements of clients.

‘It’s been a really exponential-type growth, and it’s been exciting at the same time,’ he says.

‘We’ve got 20 staff.  Three of those are expats and the rest are all nationals.

Domestic waste is a big issue, he says. This includes teaching not only businesses, but average people on the street about the need to protect the environment a little bit better.

‘We’ve got two chemists, a number of safety and environment officers and trade qualified supervisors who are all expanding their skills learning about the waste industry.’

It’s a far cry from the nine years Chan spent in the tourism industry, which he went into after graduating from Sydney University.

Staying up-to-date

Chan says it’s important to remain a good student in order to keep up-to-date with industry processes and trends.

‘I’m studying at Griffith University (Queensland) at the moment, doing a postgraduate degree in waste management, so that will give me a postgraduate qualification in waste management and in waste water treatment.’

Dealing with waste throws up many challenges, says Chan, and not the least is regulations about how to dispose of the more potentially hazardous waste.

He says he has a close relationship with regulators and the fledgling rules governing disposal.

Domestic waste is a big issue, he says. This includes teaching not only businesses, but average people on the street about the need to protect the environment a little bit better.

‘Then I think there’s just the respect of the land as well.  I don’t think a lot of people really care about that.  That’s why the litter’s ending up in our oceans.’

Some of Total Waste Management’s recent projects

  • Large-scale hazardous waste dump clean ups. One such project removed more than 15 shipping containers of hazardous wastes;
  • Total Waste Management skipDesigning and operating a number of engineered landfills across PNG;
  • Establishing PNG’s first multi-site recycling service in PET. This project hopes to collect over 400,000 plastic water bottles for recycling;
  • Commissioning a range of brand new specialised waste and recycling equipment at its Badili facility. Equipment includes balers, vacuum tankers and a range of custom designed bins;
  • Removing over 500,000 litres of restricted wastes per annum from a number of projects around Port Moresby.


  1. I am keen in recycling plastics contributing to cleaning the environment especially along the cost line , I am doing some research to make it a nation wide program for a clean environment, but need a team with a common interest


  2. Ite Ragu says

    Most of the private companies stock piles the restricted waste in their Yards PNG Environmental should have control over Environment Damages.

    • Diro Gariga Gabi says

      As a matter of fact, yes. Not only storing hazardous materials in their backyard, littering is gaining momentum nowadays and nobody seems to take notice. Its so uncontrolled that everywhere you go, you get to see rubbish of all kinds along pavements, business and shopping centers.
      Its ridiculous!

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