City pilot recycling
for 10,000 homes
Harris hopes it will prove
the feasibility of curbside recycling
Just weeks after the City Council trashed his curbside recycling program, Mayor Jeremy Harris is proposing a pilot project for 10,000 Oahu homes that he says could begin by September.
Harris said he hopes to persuade skeptical Council members by proving that curbside recycling will work.
"We're determined to institute an islandwide curbside recycling program," he said yesterday. "It's quite clear to us that it's the right thing to do, both environmentally and economically.
"If we're going to achieve our goal of eventually eliminating landfills, we're obviously going to have to eliminate more of our waste stream."
The pilot project will not have an $8 fee for a second day per week of garbage pickup that was in his original plan, because the mayor can't add fees without Council approval.
Harris said the pilot participants will receive the normal twice-a-week garbage pickup along with the recycling pickup. But he expects that many will find that they won't need a second rubbish pickup each week.
But Council members said yesterday that they remain concerned about the workability of collecting garbage one day and recyclables the next in the same trash containers and trucks.
"We have indications from some trash experts saying that won't work," Council Chairman Gary Okino said.
If the recyclable materials are all mashed together in one truck, "recyclers are not going to sit there and pick shards of glass from the newspaper," Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said. "I don't know of any other city that does that."
Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz said the Council wants recycling and is not standing in the way. "The mayor been in office for quite some time, and I'm not quite sure why it took this long to start some kind of program," he said.
Public Works Chairman Mike Gabbard said he is disappointed with the timing of the mayor's announcement. He thought the administration was going to consider Council comments and "we'd make a joint announcement."
Despite their concerns, Council members acknowledged that the administration is free to implement the pilot service.
Exactly where on the island the pilot program will take place will be announced soon, Harris said. He would only say yesterday that the 10,000 households would be in one area, not scattered throughout the island.
For $340,000, the pilot program will serve about 6.5 percent of the 150,000 homes that Harris' original recycling program would have served at a cost of $1.5 million. The Council allocated $340,000 in the current year's budget to study recycling.
Data collected from the pilot area will be used next year "to propose a new curbside system that everybody's going to agree to because we'll have real data, so we can make real decisions," said Suzanne Jones, the city's recycling coordinator.