Categorized | Environment

County recycling rate at 38% for 2011


The Department of Environmental Management says “Mahalo and Congratulations” to all the residents and businesses of the County of Hawaii.

Last year, you helped achieve a record recycling rate of 38 percent and 190 million pounds!

The county continues to work steadily toward the state goal of 50 percent recycling and the long- term goal of zero waste.

County of Hawaii Reuses or Recycles:

* HI5 beverage containers in glass, plastic and aluminum

* Greenwaste like yard trimmings and untreated wood pallets

* Paper products like cardboard, newspapers, magazines and office paper

* Scrap metal like cars, appliances and roofing

* Plastic containers from milk, shampoo and other products

* Glass containers like pickle jars and wine bottles

* Metal food cans from tuna cans to cat food

* Electronics like computers, televisions and monitors

* Used motor oil

County Sponsors Reuse Centers:

Many usable goods are often discarded as rubbish because residents may not realize their value, do not want to take the time to sell or donate the items or are in a hurry to move.

To help reduce waste and keep these reusable items from needlessly being dumped in our landfills, reuse centers are now available at the recycling and transfer stations in Keaau, Keauhou, Waimea and Hawi.

A reuse center in Kealakehe will be open in 2013.

School Recycling Petition at County Schools:

County of Hawaii schools are teaching about recycling, zero waste and sustainability but they are not provided opportunities to recycle and therefore much of the school waste ends up in our landfills.

The County Recycling Team has been working closely with local schools to help them implement recycling programs. Recycling at schools depends on level of support from the Department of Education (DOE).

The students are learning about sustainability and Kealakehe High School Environmental Leadership Club students have taken the initiative and prepared a petition to DOE to provide recycling services to all schools.

To obtain a copy of the petition or more details, contact Kealakehe High School Teacher, Jenny White at

Organics Recycling:

Moving toward zero waste and building on the current greenwaste diversion program, the county plans to increase landfill diversion by working on a program that establishes compost operations that will accept more organics than just greenwaste.

With a compost operation, 50 percent of the island’s waste including food, paper and compostable plastics can be recycled instead of landfilled.

What happens to the materials that are recycled?

The recycled greenwaste is used on-island as mulch. The other commodities like paper, glass and metals are collected and processed locally.

However, due to the lack of manufacturers in the state, most of the recycled materials are shipped to a recycling facility for additional processing or sold directly to manufacturing plants to make new products.

Using recycled materials replaces the need to extract raw materials and reduces the negative impacts on the environment.

Ideas, Comments or Suggestions:

As we move forward on our path to zero waste, the Department of Environmental Management is looking for effective, affordable and safe methods for preventing waste, sustainable programs for managing our solid waste and finding alternatives for waste materials that increase their on-island value.

We welcome your ideas, comments and suggestions to improve our services and to help us achieve our solid waste and recycling goals.

For further information, contact Linda Peters, County Recycling Coordinator at or call 961-8942.

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