Resident, councilmembers irate over suspension of recycling - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Resident, councilmembers irate over suspension of curbside recycling

Leonora Olson Leonora Olson
Council member Charles Djou Council member Charles Djou
Council member Duke Bainum Council member Duke Bainum

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Leeward Oahu residents are crushed after city leaders vote to "can" an expansion of a curbside recycling program to their homes.

Nearly 36,000 homes won't get the special recycling bins like everyone else on the island. Residents and even some local leaders call the the city budget committee's decision short-sighted and unfair.

You name it, Leonora Olson recycles it.

"These are my cans, my bottles, my newspaper," said Makakilo resident Leonora Olson.

A residential renegade.

"All kinds of plastic containers," said Olson.

Leeward Coast communities paid six million dollars in start up costs for all of Oahu's curbside recycling program, and now expansion of the service to their area is suspended.

"They should be ashamed of themselves. Our representatives aren't looking after us. We're being treated like second class citizens, what's good for Hawaii Kai, Kaneohe, Kailua, why isn't it good for us?," said Olson.

City Councilmen Charles Djou and Duke Bainum say for their colleagues to pull the plug on a third of the program is not good government.

"This is a penny-wise, pound foolish," said Councilmember Charles Djou.

"It's something that the people need," said Councilmember Duke Bainum.

The local Sierra Club says an island-wide comprehensive recycling program will cut down on trash and save costly trips to incinerators or landfills.

"The fact that the Leeward community which bears the brunt of the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill is not getting a curbside program is particularly frustrating," said Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter Spokesman Robert Harris.

For now, Leeward residents like Olson have to make a trip to collection boxes, but she says only by making it more convenient to recycle will the area's waste reduce.

"We're the ones who are going to be affected by all this extra trash that we could recycle," said Olson.

Councilmember Rod Tam said, "There are no funds for expansion at this time. We are all in favor of recycling but don't want to burden taxpayers."

Councilmember Todd Apo said he'd like to find other ways to raise money to fund the expansion, which is now delayed until May 2011.

The final vote on the matter is next month.

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