Recyclers get pay raise
Those turning in glass and aluminum cans will start getting more money per pound
Hawaii residents who recycle their beverage containers by weight can earn more nickels per pound of aluminum cans and glass bottles, starting today, as the state changes its HI-5 recycling payment formula.
Redemption centers will now count a pound of glass bottles as 2.3 containers and pay 11.5 cents, up from 11 cents yesterday.
And the number of aluminum cans per pound is now officially 31.6, which pays $1.58, up from $1.52 yesterday.
Rates by weight for plastic and bimetal cans do not change this month, but plastic bottles of 17 ounces or less will be reimbursed at a rate of 22.7 per pound starting June 1, a release from the state Department of Health says.
At a pound at a time, it does not seem like much, but for serious recyclers the increase is important.
"We hope the new rates will be an incentive for more people to recycle," Karl Montoyama, who oversees the HI-5 program for Health Department, was quoted as saying in the announcement.
The values are changing after a consultant made a scientific study of actual containers brought to Hawaii redemption centers last fall. In the past, the state calculated payment by weight based on a mixed load of different-size containers.
The new by-weight payments come less than two weeks after the state started allowing customers at a HI-5 beverage container redemption center to request a hand count of up to 200 containers at a time.
Until April 21, customers at redemption centers could ask for a hand count of only 50 or fewer containers per load.
Veteran recyclers had griped that the by-weight payments were not reimbursing them the 5 cents per container they paid when they bought labeled beverages. An additional 1-cent fee collected per container is not refunded, but goes to pay for the program.
Hawaii's beverage container redemption law began collecting 6 cents per labeled container in late 2004 and began refunding the deposits in 2005. After the program's second full year, the average redemption rate fell just shy of 70 percent of bottles and cans sold.
Meanwhile, in the last week of the state legislative session, a bill that would increase the size of labeled bottles to 68 ounces has cleared conference committee and is awaiting floor votes.
For more information and a list of redemption centers by island, go to www.hawaii.gov/ health and click on "Hawaii Beverage Container Deposit Program."