Voluntary recycling
will gauge feasibility

Mililani residents are asked
to participate in the city pilot project

Mililani residents will decide whether to participate in the city's curbside recycling trial, a city official said.

"It's not mandatory. We're not going to be coming down the street and penalizing anybody for not participating in the recycling program, which is what mandatory implies," city recycling coordinator Suzanne Jones said.

"We are encouraging them to do it. We don't want to say we're bringing (curbside recycling) to you, but you don't have to do it."

Willingness to recycle is one of the behaviors city officials will gauge during the four-month pilot project that begins Nov. 3. The city hopes to take the program islandwide July 1.

Residents will be asked to separate glass, newspapers, aluminum and plastic from their trash and put them at their curb for pickup every other week.

"There are going to be some people, as there always are, that they choose for whatever reasons not to do it, and we need to know through this pilot project how many are willing to participate," Jones said.

When Mayor Jeremy Harris unveiled his initial islandwide curbside recycling plan in the spring, it was described as mandatory -- residents were going to be penalized by not having their trash picked up if they consistently failed to separate their recyclable items from their general trash.

The City Council scrapped the idea for a number of reasons, including criticism of a new $8-a-month charge for a second day of general trash pickup.

The Council instead approved funding for a smaller pilot project.

What happens if an overwhelming number of residents decide not to participate?

"I don't expect that would be the case. If something like that were to happen, that would start to have us think twice about the program, wouldn't it?" Jones said.

The city will be able to measure participation through surveys and the amount of recyclable material set out, Jones said. But they will also be working out any operational glitches.

"They really have choices and that is what we want to learn from them is what their choices, what their preferences are and their degree of willingness to participate in the recycling program," Jones.

Jones said it hasn't been decided whether an islandwide program will be mandatory or whether a fee will be charged.

Beginning Oct. 1, the city will begin sending out instructional brochures explaining the program to the targeted 11,000 households and providing a schedule of collection pickup.

The brochure will also include a form to request an extra 96-gallon trash cart.

Forms have to be returned by Oct. 8 to ensure that carts will be delivered before the start of the recycling project, but carts can still be ordered after the program starts. The carts will be delivered beginning Oct. 13.

The city already has enough carts to cover households but Jones suspects not everyone will need an extra cart.

While the focus will be on recyclable material, there will also be changes to green waste pickup.

Mililani residents, like others across the island, have green waste such as lawn clippings and tree branches picked up manually by city garbage crews.

But the curbside recycling pilot will see the start of green waste being picked up by automated trucks, which means all the waste has to fit in the city-provided cart.

"Even for the manual pickup, we have guidelines for how the householder will prepare green waste," she said.

Christmas will be the first time that households will be asked to fit their Christmas trees into their carts. "That'll be kind of interesting," Jones said.

For information, see the pilot curbside recycling section of or call 692-5410.


E-mail to City Desk


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