Make curbside recycling pilot prelude to islandwide program
The city has launched a pilot program for curbside recycling in Mililani and Hawaii Kai.
THE city will embark at the end of next month on yet another pilot program
to test different curbside recycling strategies in Mililani and Hawaii Kai. The neighborhood experiments should provide prompt indications of how residents will respond so that islandwide recycling pickups can be implemented without further delay.
Mililani households began curbside recycling in 2003, when then-Mayor Jeremy Harris initiated a program of weekly pickups of recyclable material alongside the twice-a-week pickup of general garbage, but the project died the following year because of a labor dispute. Under a revision announced by Mayor Mufi Hannemann, 10,000 Mililani households will have to pay $10 a month for continuation of the second general-trash pickup.
In Hawaii Kai, households will not be offered the option of that second general-trash collection. Eliminating the second weekly pickup of general garbage in Hawaii Kai was supported by Charles Djou, who represents that area on the City Council.
Essentially, the second pickup of the week in Hawaii Kai will be for recyclables, alternating weekly between green waste -- grass and trimmings -- and blue waste -- paper, cardboard, bottles and cans.
When the mayor suggested the $10 monthly fee for a second weekly pickup of general trash at a meeting in Mililani in April, residents complained. Under the pilot program, they will have to buy a sticker every quarter from satellite city halls for $30, beginning Jan. 7. The cost and inconvenience will be an incentive for families to take the trouble of sorting out recyclables so they can fit other garbage into a bin for the single weekly pickup.
According to Karen Luken, senior director of R.W. Beck and consultant for the city's solid-waste plan, "the communities that charge more for the amount of garbage you set out have higher recycling rates." Curbside recycling in other cities has reduced the frequency of regular trash collections.
By having different programs for Mililani and Hawaii Kai, Hannemann said "we'll be able to get a very accurate gauge on what the reaction will be, but most importantly, the effectiveness of this program."
The pilot program is expected to cost $1 million to $1.5 million, while an island-wide program could cost about $9 million, up slightly from what the mayor estimated earlier this year.
Steps toward islandwide curbside recycling should happen as soon as the information from the pilot programs becomes clear. As Djou commented, "I'm a little tired of all this testing. I support curbside recycling, but enough with the pilot projects. Our community needs an islandwide program."