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Friday, March 24, 2000

At last, Kauai glass
recycling contract
to begin

By Anthony Sommer


LIHUE -- Kauai's Great Glass Recycling War is over.

Garden Isle Disposal Inc., the losing bidder, announced yesterday it will drop its protest of the award to winning bidder JC Sandblasting. That means the $100,000-a-year contract with the county will go into effect sometime in April.

That still leaves 500 tons of old bottles and jars that have piled up in storage yards on the island for the past year because there was no recycling contract.

Garden Isle Disposal said it won't give or sell the glass to competitor JC Sandblasting but it isn't sure anyone else wants it, either.

Ground-up glass primarily is used to replace gravel in road surfacing material called "glassphalt," in concrete blocks for buildings and to line the bottom of fish tanks.

Because of the small resale value, the counties have to pay recycling companies to process old bottles and jars for reuse. The primary benefit is keeping massive amounts of glass that will never decompose out of the county landfill.

JC Sandblasting, owned by J.C. and Joanne Carvalho, had the county glass recycling contract for two years. At the same time, Garden Isle Disposal, the island's largest commercial trash hauler, had the recycling contract for everything else.

During those two years, whatever glass Garden Isle Disposal picked up from its customers, it sold to JC Sandblasting, which paid for it with some of the money it received from the county. JC Sandblasting then crushed the glass and sold it.

Last April, the county, without any explanation, announced it had decided not to extend its expired contract with JC Sandblasting. After questions were raised by the County Council, solid waste officials conceded the state Health Department wanted some changes made before it would approve a contract extension.

Included were requirements that the glass-recycling contractor pick up glass from bars and restaurants and that it sponsor a major "public education" campaign on glass recycling.

The state also wanted the contractor paid on the basis of amounts of glass processed rather than just given a flat-rate payment check every month.

Bidding on the revamped program didn't take place until December and the new contract was awarded in February. Meanwhile, mountains of glass piled up at Garden Isle.

Finally, Garden Isle invested $73,000 in a glass crusher and decided to bid against JC Sandblasting for the county contract, which it lost.

Garden Isle filed a protest, it was rejected and yesterday company President Cathy Shibuya said she will not ask for a reconsideration.

E-mail to City Desk

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