City will not
ship out garbage

An official says exporting Honolulu's
waste is not the answer for a landfill

The city will not solicit bids for shipping Honolulu garbage to the mainland, said a city official, who described the proposal as immoral and a distraction.

Sending even a portion of Oahu's garbage to the mainland could delay long-term solid-waste solutions, such as recycling, Environmental Services Director Frank Doyle told a City Council committee yesterday. Plus, it would be morally wrong to send local trash to someone else's back yard, he said.

"Shipping solid waste off island can detract from and delay the immediate decisions presently before us on landfill selection, HPOWER expansion and the use of alternative technology," Doyle said.

The city has a Dec. 1 deadline to tell the state Land Use Commission where it plans to put the city's next landfill after 2008. Chairman Rod Tam said his Public Works and Economic Development Committee will make a recommendation to the Council in November.

Plans to expand the city's HPOWER waste-to-energy plant by 20 percent and increase recycling by 30 percent "will significantly reduce the amount of waste disposed of at a landfill. However, a landfill will still be required," Doyle said. "Shipping waste to the mainland will significantly impact our sustainability efforts and require more dependence on offshore resources."

Shipping garbage between states is legal now but is being challenged in Congress, he also noted.

Last week, the Public Works Committee heard proposals from two mainland companies offering to take 100,000 to 300,000 tons a year of Oahu's garbage at large Washington or Idaho landfills. Company representatives said last week that they hoped the city would advertise for proposals to ship garbage to the mainland.

But Doyle said yesterday that the city will be better served to convert more waste to energy and recycle more. Adding a third boiler at HPOWER would increase its capacity by 120,000 tons a year at a cost of $64 million, he said.

Currently, 500,000 tons a year of materials are recycled on Oahu, Doyle said, including green waste converted to mulch and compost; tires burned as fuel; asphalt and concrete reused in construction; and plastics recycled into park benches.

"As we continue to improve our recycling opportunities, recycling volumes are projected to increase to 650,000 tons per year," Doyle said.

With more recycling and more capacity at HPOWER, the city will have about 100,000 tons a year of raw garbage that would have to be put in a landfill, Doyle said. That quantity is the amount for which the city will seek proposals next year on alternative waste-reduction technologies, he said.

One aspect of increasing recycling by 150,000 tons a year will be the city's proposed curbside recycling program, which is set to kick off in Mililani and on the North Shore in November.

Doyle said yesterday that his department will decide in the next two weeks whether to recommend having a private company or city workers handle the collection of curbside recycling. He also said a proposed contract with Island Recycling Inc. to sort and sell the collected aluminum, glass, paper and plastic will be presented to the Council next week.

The city's curbside recycling program will serve 140,000 single-family homes that have garbage picked up by automated trucks. Its cost is estimated at $5 million a year.

City & County of Honolulu



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