Recycling Gaining Support Heading Into Second Year

Walter Miyamoto brings his collection of cans to be recycled.
Walter Miyamoto brings his collection of cans to be recycled.

(KHNL)  The Health Department is celebrating the bottle bill's first anniversary with a lot of celebrations.

State officials say there's been a higher than expected recycling rate.

"Now we started off with about 20% in January 2005 when people could first redeem the containers, by the second half, we're averaging 72%," said Larry Lau, deputy director for the Environmental Health Administration.

More than a billion deposit beverage containers have been sold and more than half a billion have been recycled.

"Well I walk everyday, whatever I see I just pick it up, clean the environment a little," said Walter Miyamoto, who started recycling two months ago.

He earned $50 for numerous bags of cans and bottles.

"Do my daily walk and get paid for it," said Miyamoto.

This year, the state wants to expand and improve the centers, hire more inspectors and other staff to run the program and open more locations.

Some say more needs to be done.

"I was throwing everything into the cans but it wouldn't accept couple items, if it would accept everything there, it would be more easy," said Sadayuki Kansaku, a local resident.

The state is also trying to get retailers onboard, by offering more drop-off locations in hopes of encouraging others to join the HI5 program.

Hawaii is the 11th state to establish a container deposit bill system.