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County launches E-Waste collection program

department of environmental management, recycling

County Department of Environmental Management employees pose in front of a bin full of recycled e-waste Saturday, Oct. 22. From left, kneeling, Kyle Matsuoka, Larry Matsumoto, Burt Kaha, Paul Moniz; Second row, standing, Paul Escobar, Channing Tokeshi, Bobby Medeiros, Kenneth Urbanozo. Missing (doing traffic control), Gabe Sampaia and Kynaston Ventura. (Photo courtesy of County of Hawaii)


The county Department of Environmental Management (DEM) launched its new E-Waste Collection Program on Oct. 1, 2011.

Every week, the county Solid Waste Division will host an event around the island for residents to recycle old TVs, computers and other electronics.

Last Saturday was the first date the event was in Hilo and it was a huge success, collecting more than five 40-yard roll-off containers.

Residents came to the Hilo Recycle and Transfer Station between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to drop off unwanted and broken electronics.

Everyone was patient and appreciative of this new service. Some said they had been waiting months and even years to recycle their electronics.

County Solid Waste Facility Attendants assisted residents and continued working through the weekend to prepare and package the materials for shipping to an off-island electronics recycling facility.

The state passed a law effective 2010 that requires manufacturers who want to sell electronics in the state to pay for the recycling. Similar laws have been passed in other states.

The law is not adequate to serve the needs of Hawaii Island, however, offering only mail-back programs instead of paying for collection events or for drop-off centers.

The county has been working with the state Department of Health on a solution and it simply could no longer wait for the atate to resolve the problem. DEM decided to take action by rolling out this program to meet the needs of its community.

DEM continues to work with the State and has sought grant funds to help pay for the collection and shipping of the collected materials.

The next scheduled event for residents will be Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Waiohinu Recycle & Transfer Station; then the Waimea Recycle & Transfer Station on Nov. 12; Kealakehe Recycle & Transfer Station on Nov. 19; and then back to Hilo on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Details about these events are available online at the County’s website

Business, government agency and non-profit organization E-Waste Collections are by appointment on the last Friday of each month and reservation forms are available online or by calling 961-8270.

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