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Sorry for missed pickup, city refuse officials say


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POSTED: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Question: We live in upper Kalihi Valley, and for three months we have placed throwaway furniture in front of our driveway for bulky-item pickup. To date, it hasn't been collected. Bulky-item pickup in our area is supposed to be the first Wednesday of the month. I called the city bulky-item office for weeks, and all we got was a recording. I finally spoke to someone and asked that it be picked up the first Wednesday in May. We were told to call back if it still was not picked up. Well, it wasn't. I'm tired of getting the runaround. Can you find out from the Mayor's Office why this service has been nonexistent for the past three months?

Answer: The problem was that the bulky-item crew thought your "substreet"—one parcel of land with numerous addresses—was a private road, said Markus Owens, spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Services.

However, Refuse Division officials found the reason given was "not acceptable" because, as you pointed out, automated garbage trucks service homes along your substreet twice a week.

"We apologize to the residents in that area," Owens said. You confirmed everything finally was hauled away Thursday.

Owens took this opportunity to remind all residents that bulky items should not be put out earlier than 6 p.m. the night before the scheduled pickup.

"It normally takes our crew about three to four days to pick up from all the streets in their scheduled area, so residents should not remove items for that period," he said.

He also asked residents to make sure the crew has easy access to the bulky items and that vehicles are not blocking them. If the items are not picked up, call 768-3200.

Q: Our community recently received the green recycling bin from the city Refuse Division. We also received a revised collection schedule, which cuts general trash collection from two days to one per week starting in June. We already recycle plastic bottles and cans for refund, so we don't use the blue bin. We also recycle green waste for mulch, so we won't use the green bin. With our large extended family, trash pickup once a week will not suffice. Am I expected to haul my trash to the dump in my car every week? What is the city thinking?

A: For now at least, you're stuck with that once-a-week trash pickup. But, you can request a second gray trash cart at no charge.

However, you have to demonstrate that your household generates a larger amount of trash to warrant a second cart and that it is "fully recycling to qualify."

Families generating a lot of green waste may request up to two additional green carts at no charge.

Other than that, "there is no other way" other than taking the trash to the dump yourself, said Refuse Division spokesman Markus Owens.

"The city made the decision based on what is best for the majority," he said. The city "acknowledges that there are many extended families on Oahu and tried its best to accommodate them by offering a free second gray cart to attend to their weekly needs."

Call 768-3200 to request an additional cart.

The City Council is looking to cut $6 million from the curbside recycling program, which would delay adding neighborhoods from Waipahu to Makua to the new trash collection schedule.


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