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Recyclers are not obliged to take nondeposit items


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POSTED: Friday, November 06, 2009

QUESTION: I took my recyclables, including a 1-gallon (128 fluid ounces) Crystal Geyser plastic water bottle, to the Kalama Valley station. It said “;ME 5 cent”; on the label but not “;HI-5.”; The attendant told me that Hawaii did not take these any longer. I accepted that but asked him to take it without the redemption. It would then be recycled, which I believe is the goal. He said that the HI-5 program cannot take these non-HI-5 items. Why?

ANSWER: Some redemption centers do accept non-HI-5 containers, even though they are not required to do so.

Those more likely to do so are operators of certified redemption centers located at recycling facilities, where scrap material is processed, said Jennifer Tosaki, recycling coordinator for the state Department of Health's Office of Solid Waste Management.

You're advised to call a recycler directly to see whether it will accept nondeposit items. For a list of redemption sites and names of recyclers, go to hsblinks.com/17v.

Tosaki listed a variety of reasons why operators might not want to accept nondeposit containers at a site, including:

» Limited storage capacity. Depending on the quantity received, nondeposit containers might take up too much space, reducing the storage capacity for deposit containers.

The Health Department requires certified redemption centers to maintain storage capacity for all deposit containers presented for refund, Tosaki said.
» An operator could only be in business as a certified redemption center, relying on the HI-5 handling fee for revenue. They do not directly sell scrap material.
» The Health Department requires operators to segregate and maintain records on nondeposit materials accepted. Operators might not want to take on this added responsibility and/or be able to do this effectively at their sites.
Tosaki said you have other options for recycling nondeposit containers via the city's curbside recycling bins and the city's community recycling bins, located at schools around Oahu (see hsblinks.com/164).

We asked why larger containers aren't accepted for recycling, as they are in Maine.

Tosaki said it's because Hawaii's Deposit Beverage Container Law does not subject beverage containers containing more than 68 fluid ounces to the redemption/handling fees.

“;For the program to include larger sizes, the law would need to be changed,”; she said.

As it is, one purpose of the law was to address littering.

“;Many people consume beverages away from home at places like beaches and parks,”; Tosaki explained.

Those beverages typically are in serving-size containers much smaller than gallon containers.

“;Applying a deposit value to these smaller containers creates an economic incentive for people to recycle empty containers and not litter,”; Tosaki said.

Mahalo

To First Hawaiian Bank in Safeway Kapahulu for retrieving my wife's credit card after it was “;captured”; by the bank's ATM and we couldn't get it out. I had just read your column about how most banks won't retrieve cards that aren't from customers (see hsblinks.com/17u). We asked the Safeway manager, who was a big help but unable to do anything about it. We came back the next day, and the branch manager was able to retrieve the card for us.—Leland