Recycling Changes in Hawaii

Ken Shimizu
Ken Shimizu

(KHNL) - Officials hesitant to put out more recycling bins.

Hawaii lags behind many mainland and international locations in our ability to recycle in public places and buildings. That's despite the growing number of people who're recycling, and the shrinking size of our landfills.

City officials estimate Oahu recycled about 500,000 tons in the last year.

"We're still dumping almost 500,000 into the landfill," said Ken Shimizu, deputy director of the city's department of environmental services. "As much as we can get out of the landfill and into H-power or recycling program, it would be better off for everyone in the islands."

However, city officials don't want to put out recycling bins at public places because of the cost.

"It comes down to how do we maintain the program," said Shimizu. "At what cost can we afford to go out and have city workers pick it up, and go to redemption centers and recycle like that."

On the mainland, recycling bins are everywhere there are lots of people. Theme parks, stadiums, and airports.

"Lots of people are not gonna go out of their way to recycle," said Terri Lo, of RRR Recycling. "If that's not presented to them, they're just gonna throw it in the trash."

Shimizu says the city is planning to increase the number of the big, white recycling bins at schools across the island. There are currently 75. They are planning to put out 45 more.

Meanwhile, the state says it is up to managers at each individual facility to decide to have recycle bins in place. They said they don't want to force anyone to recycle, but they do encourage it.

Recycling bins are already in place at the state capitol and Honolulu Hale.