Take used helium tanks to convenience center


POSTED: Wednesday, December 09, 2009

QUESTION: I'd like to recycle used birthday balloon helium gas tanks sold by many retailers. I don't feel right throwing them in the regular rubbish and don't see any indication that it is OK to put them in the recyclable bins. I tried to drop them off at the city's Keehi and Kapaa transfer stations but was told they don't take them. Where can these be recycled?

ANSWER: You can take helium and other compressed-gas tanks to one of the city's seven Drop-off Convenience Centers.

The convenience centers are reserved for residential waste only, and vehicles are limited to pickup trucks, minivans or automobiles.

Once there, you are to deposit materials into the appropriate containers: combustibles, taken to HPOWER; noncombustibles, to a landfill; yard waste, to mulching and composting sites; and large appliances, tires and auto batteries, to recycling facilities.

To find out the locations, hours and rules of the centers, as well as what materials are NOT accepted, go to hsblinks.com/1h4.


To the driver of a Pontiac hatchback driving 50 mph (in a 60-mph area) in the fast lane on the H-2 freeway near Makakilo, Waianae bound, in the afternoons around 4:45 p.m. You know you are annoying other drivers as you drive with a sun shield on your rearview window and dark tinted side windows. I would call 911 to report this as a possible traffic hazard but don't want to get in trouble for using my cell phone while driving.—Concerned-but-Shaking-My-Head Driver

It is not legal to place any kind of nontransparent material on the rearview window of a passenger car, although it is permitted on a vehicle that is built on a truck chassis, according to an official with the state Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Safety Office.

“;In a car, all windows are considered requisite for driving safety,”; he explained. “;Therefore, car owners are not allowed to replace any transparent glazing with opaque glazing,”; for example.

He pointed to Section 15-19.30 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, which says windshields should be unobstructed: “;No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows of such vehicle which obstructs the driver's clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.”;

The ordinance goes on to say that stickers approved by the police chief should be at the lower right-hand corner of the front windshield of a left-hand-driven motor vehicle or at the lower left-hand corner of the front windshield of a right-hand-driven motor vehicle, or in a location approved by the chief.

The stickers can't be bigger than 4 by 6 inches, except for nonresident permits or for military requirements, in which case they can take up 4 1/2 inches by 6 inches.

Another prohibition: no driving with “;any nontransparent material or object suspended within the windshield area as viewed from the driver's seat,”; or with an “;ornament of any material”; attached to the hood or radiator “;which vibrates, swings or flutters within view of the driver of such vehicle.”;

“;Vision is probably the most important thing for safe driving,”; the motor vehicle safety official said.