FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Waipio resident Stan Patinio had questions yesterday about the costs of a proposed city curbside recycling program, at a city presentation at Mililani Mauka Elementary School. CLICK FOR LARGE
Recycling plan trashed by Mililani residents
Mililani residents told Mayor Mufi Hannemann and other city officials that they want to avoid the pitfalls and failures of past recycling programs in their neighborhood, and they also were not keen on paying $10 for a second day a week of garbage pickup.
"Why should I pay?" asked Stan Patinio, of Waipio Valley.
Last night's meeting at Mililani Mauka Elementary was the first in seven that the city is organizing to obtain public comment on the mayor's plan.
"We wanted to come into Mililani because this community understands what has happened before," the mayor told the audience of about 50 attendees.
Hannemann is proposing a curbside recycling program that calls for a weekly regular trash pickup and a recycling collection, alternating between green waste and mixed recyclables. Under the proposal, households opting for a second regular trash pickup each week would have to pay a $10-per-month fee.
Hannemann has said the proposed program could start by Sept. 1 in Windward Oahu and either Mililani or Hawaii Kai, and that there is about $1 million in proposed startup costs in next fiscal year's operating budget request.
Single-family households currently have automated twice-weekly trash pickup and twice-monthly green waste collection.
Mililani was the site of a pilot curbside recycling program by former Mayor Jeremy Harris.
"It sucked," Hiram Au said of the pilot recycling program, ticking off a laundry list of reasons why the previous program did not work, including a labor disagreement with the United Public Workers union, which represents garbage workers.
Suzanne Jones, the city's recycling coordinator, said the city learned a lot from the challenges and problems of the Mililani project and will use those lessons in the upcoming program.
Lloyd Uradomo said he recycles everything he can, but he still has a lot of trash.
"I'm a recycler, but I still need two trash pickups," he said, noting that a $10 fee will not get a lot of people to recycle. "You're not going to force them -- they're too lazy."
Patinio said paying $10 for a second day of trash pickup does not make sense.
"I don't see why people have to pay," Patinio said during the meeting. "We pay, we pay, we pay."
The mayor told the group that Oahu, compared with the neighbor island counties where they have less service and more fees, has been "spoiled" with twice-a-week trash pickup without a fee.
"We need an incentive," the mayor said.
Karen Luken, senior director with R.W. Beck, currently working on the city's integrated solid-waste plan, gave a presentation on the current status of the city's recycling efforts, including the city's HPOWER garbage-to-energy plant.
Luken said the mayor's proposal for a $10 monthly fee for a second day a week is an economic incentive to recycle.
"What we have found is that the communities that charge more for the amount of garbage you set out have higher recycling rates," she said before yesterday's meeting.