‘Green’ collection plan good, but not enough
The city has found a use for the blue bins originally meant for curbside recycling.
CITY residents who have been providing accommodations for blue recycling bins for more than a year will finally get to use them under Mayor Hannemann's program
for collecting yard clippings.
Instead of having to bag or bundle up grass and brush cuttings for the city's usual twice-a-month pickup service, the 50,000 households that have the now-notorious blue bins will just have to drop green wastes inside and roll the receptacles to the curb.
The plan may appease irate bin-holders, but it appears to be simply a repackaging of green wastes for collection rather than a move toward the comprehensive curbside recycling the city really needs.
The only differences between the new and current green waste programs are finding a use for the containers, originally meant for collecting all recyclable materials, and having some automated rather than all-manual pickup service.
There is one more variance: The green waste collection is expected to cost $7 million a year when it is spread islandwide. By comparison, former Mayor Harris' proposal for curbside collection of all recyclables projected annual costs at about $8 million, plus an $8 monthly fee for residents wanting twice-a-week service.
Bin-less residents, the majority of the island's population, will still have to bag or bind cuttings for manual pickup -- unless the city decides to fork over more tax dollars for additional containers. But at a cost of $2.5 million for the ones already in place, expanding the current 7-year, lease-to-own bin purchase program would be ill-advised.
For bin-blessed residents, throwing away yard clippings will be easier, but if they have more than can fit in the blue bins, they'll have to use the gray ones designated for regular trash -- which may confuse refuse collectors -- or wait two weeks for the next pickup.
Meanwhile, cans, papers, bottles, plastics and other recyclable materials will continue to pack the sole landfill on Oahu.
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