DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mayor Mufi Hannemann discussed details yesterday of a curbside recycling pilot program for Mililani and Hawaii Kai that will utilize colored garbage containers like these.
Isle towns to test recycling project
Mililani and Hawaii Kai will get new pickup cycles
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Mayor Mufi Hannemann yesterday announced yesterday details of a new and long-awaited pilot program in Mililani and Hawaii Kai that will begin in October.
Starting the week of Oct. 29 and continuing through the rest of this year, the two areas will receive their usual twice-a-week trash pickup in addition to a weekly pickup alternating between mixed recyclables and green waste.
However, starting Jan. 7, Mililani residents will have to pay $10 a month if they opt for the second trash pickup. Hawaii Kai residents will not have that option and will have their weekly second trash pickup eliminated -- generat- ing some unhappiness among community members.
But Hannemann said this method is the best way to gauge curbside recycling's effectiveness and whether it should be implemented islandwide in an effort to reduce the city's waste.
Hannemann also unveiled the city's 10-year action plan to improve Oahu's sustainability, including renewable fuels and green building strategies. He also announced a new program, "Green Parking," where the city will sell placards to motorists with hybrid or biodiesel vehicles allowing them to park in preferred spots in city-owned lots -- similar to handicapped parking.
Start: Week of Oct. 29
Where: Mililani and Hawaii Kai
Fees: Starting Jan. 7, Mililani residents wishing to continue a weekly second trash pickup will have to buy a sticker for $30 for every quarter from satellite city halls. Hawaii Kai residents are allowed only once-a-week trash pickup.
Collection schedule: Pickup days stay the same with your first collection day being your gray bin. The second collection day is for recycling, alternating weekly between the green and blue bins.
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DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Eric Takamura, director of the city Department of Environmental Services, held some examples of trash that can be recycled in the city's pilot program, a project announced yesterday at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.
Hawaii Kai resident Lester Muraoka has been recycling for years and says that the city's curbside recycling pilot project will make hauling out newspaper and cardboard much more convenient when it begins next month.
But with the convenience comes a disadvantage. Under the city's pilot project detailed yesterday, Hawaii Kai's weekly second trash pickup will be eliminated in January. Muraoka fears trash sitting out for a week could cause health hazards, not to mention some unwelcome odors.
"The recycling program is a good thing," Muraoka said. "It's the right thing to do for Hawaii. But I am a little disappointed Hawaii Kai wasn't given the option of a second trash pickup."
At a press conference, Mayor Mufi Hannemann outlined the city's plans for curbside recycling, beginning with pilot programs in Mililani and Hawaii Kai, that could be taken islandwide if found cost-effective and beneficial.
While Hawaii Kai does not have the option for a biweekly trash pickup, Mililani residents can pay $30 per quarter for the service.
"We're very pleased with curbside recycling," said Mililani resident Bill Bass. "I probably will (pay the fee) because I just don't like the idea of trash sitting out for seven days. I think it's a bad idea, but I'll still do it."
The City Council will need to vote on a bill allowing the city to implement curbside recycling islandwide. Also, informational meetings will be held:
Monday: 7 p.m., Hahaione Elementary School cafeteria in Hawaii Kai.
Tuesday: 7 p.m., Mililani High School cafeteria.
For more information and tips on curbside recycling, visit www.opala.org or call 768-3200.
In previous curbside recycling pilot programs, residents could still get their biweekly trash pickup in addition to a recyclables collection. However, Hannemann said in order for these projects to work, disincentives -- like fees -- need to be created to force people to sort and recycle more.
Hannemann said he chose to give the two towns different options to see how the pilot program works in each area.
"We decided by doing it this way, we'll be able to get a very accurate gauge on what the reaction will be, but most importantly, the effectiveness of this program," Hannemann said.
Some questioned whether Hannemann eliminated the second pickup option for Hawaii Kai because of previous political disputes with that area's city councilman, Charles Djou.
But Hannemann said Djou had pushed for curbside recycling and called for a reduction in the weekly trash pickup. "We're holding him to his word," Hannemann said.
Djou said he is pleased curbside recycling is starting again after two previous mayors had abandoned similar pilot programs. However, he would like to see it go islandwide.
"I'm a little tired of all this testing," Djou said. "I support curbside recycling, but enough with the pilot projects. Our community needs an islandwide program."
This pilot program, costing about $1 million to $1.5 million, covers about 20,000 households in Mililani and Hawaii Kai. An islandwide program would cost about $9 million.
Hannemann also points to a study conducted by a city-hired contractor that found curbside recycling would divert 2 percent of Oahu's trash, which is not a large-enough amount to immediately spend money on an islandwide program.
"I want to be responsive," Hannemann said, referring to a majority of voters who said in 2006 they support curbside recycling. "I want to do it the right way."
The city will conduct a six- to 12-month evaluation of the program in addition to holding community meetings in April and March for input before deciding whether it will go islandwide.
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DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
At Blaisdell Exhibition Hall yesterday, Mayor Mufi Hannemann displayed an example of the Green Parking Permit, which would give drivers of hybrid cars preferred parking at city parking lots.
Hybrid vehicles to get best parking
"Green parking" at municipal lots is just one of several action-plan initiatives
In an effort to make Oahu more environmentally sustainable, Mayor Mufi Hannemann released the city's 10-year action plan yesterday, including new energy initiatives and an incentives plan for motorists who drive hybrid or biodiesel vehicles.
"The 60-page document drills down into specifics in terms of goals for energy and water conservation, changing over to renewable fuels and green building strategies," Hannemann said yesterday at a press conference. "This and other administrations' feet can be held to fire to ensure that we are going to make a major commitment in this regard."
In November the city plans to implement Green Parking, a program for hybrid or biodiesel vehicle drivers to purchase a parking placard that gives them preferred parking spots -- similar to handicapped parking spaces -- at the city's municipal parking lot on South King Street.
Melvin Kaku, the city's Department of Transportation Services director, said they will start with a pilot program selling six placards for a cost yet to be determined.
In December 2008 the city hopes to have an citywide program in place that allows green drivers to park in all municipal parking lots and metered street parking stalls without paying for the first two hours.
"This will encourage the use of more environmentally friendly vehicles," Hannemann said.
The sustainability report also highlighted:
» Construction of more "green" buildings.
» Increased use of alternative fuels, such as biodiesel, and replacing the entire bus fleet with hybrid diesel-electric vehicles.
» Reduction of electricity use in city-owned buildings by 10 percent by 2017 by retrofitting energy-efficient lights.
» Increased recycling by providing 30 more white-bin locations and expansion of green-waste recycling program to the Leeward area and Central and East Honolulu.