City should speed curbside recycling
After the city cut trash collections, residents in Hawaii Kai and Mililani increased their recycling.
City officials were surprised that when trash service was reduced from two to one pick-up a week, residents in test communities recycled more.
They shouldn't have been. Given a choice, some will opt for the status quo. When circumstances compel a change, they'll adapt. Moreover, the public's willingness to take steps toward environmental improvements should not be underestimated, particularly if doing so is made easier, which is the aim of curbside recycling.
For most Oahu residents, however, the program won't be coming soon. Eric Takamura, director of Environmental Services, told a City Council committee islandwide service will take three years to phase in. Reasons range from the time, and presumably the cost, it will take for the city to acquire enough collection bins to wanting to make sure the program is done right.
The pilot program the city is conducting should take care of the latter. Though not reinventing the wheel -- many municipalities have curbside recycling services -- the year-long tests in Mililani and Hawaii Kai will identify localized problems and smooth out any bumps. It also will give officials a closer estimate of cost, which might be the biggest hurdle and the basis for reluctance to go islandwide sooner.
In any case, voters made curbside recycling a mandate through a charter provision two years ago. Delaying full service for another three years hampers the city's efforts to lessen the load of landfill waste and negates the public's directive.
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