City dumping school recycling program

NIU VALLEY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With curbside pickup now accounting for nearly all recycling, the system for recycling at public schools is getting trashed.

About 100 schools participate, including Niu Valley Middle School where recycling is part of the education equation. Classrooms have collection bins for plastic, paper and cardboard waste. That gets dumped into the large white school recycling bin.

"It's helping our environment, helping the landfill to recycle, and we get some cash out of that so that we can do projects at school," principal Justin Mew said.

But volume in school based bins has dropped from 12,000 tons a year to 4,000. So the city's ending it's school recycling bin service contract with a private hauler at the end of June.

At Kaiser High School, recycling brings in about $200 a month.

"It's just another source of a small amount of funding," principal John Sosa said. "But a couple hundred bucks a month makes a difference over the long haul."

Kaiser is one of fifty schools that can opt to keep their bins as a service to the community. But they will no longer get a portion of the money for recycling.

Niu Valley doesn't have a choice.  Its bin will be gone in two months.

"There's a system going. Now what are we going to do with all of that?" Mew said.

A spokesman with the Department of Environmental Services said the average payout for the hundred schools is $160 a month. Closing the program will save taxpayers $1.5 million dollars a year. The city will use some of the savings to develop other recycling options.

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