Fans Want To Recycle, Stadium Says No

(KHNL) - It's clear what UH fans can't take into the stadium but tonight controversy surrounds the issue about what you can't take out.

When a couple tried to leave the stadium last week with some water bottles to recycle, they say they were threatened with arrest.

Some fans would like to be a few bucks richer by taking home discarded water bottles they found in the stands.

But stadium officials say fans aren't allowed to recycle these bottles.

Mike Fernadez is one such die-hard UH fan, "I've been coming to Aloha Stadium, been a patron of UH games for 25 years. I support my team but this is the first time I'm pretty much dismayed with the system.

Last Saturday Fernadez and partner Kuulei Naniho walked toward the exit with several water bottle they'd purchased for two dollars and fifty cents.

They picked up dozens more left behind in the stands.

Fernandez explains, "Here in Hawaii everybody is into recycling. We do it too because it helps with our pocketbook, helps with gas and odds and ends."

But Fernandez says they were stopped by stadium security, "She told me sir you cannot take these bottle out of the stadium. I asked her for an explanation. She could not give me an explanation. I was pretty dismayed so I kept asking her why I can't pick up these bottles."

Kuulei Naniho adds, "Mike asked her why? She said it was part of the rules. He told her show me the rule and she said to call the office on Monday. Then she said the bottles are state property. How can water be state property if bottle waters are what people buy and if they throw it on the ground it's free for all."

Fernandez says they collected about four dollars worth of bottles, almost enough to cover their parking, "You spend money on season tickets and come to enjoy yourself. I don't see what the problem is picking up the bottle waters nobody wanted it threw it on ground why not, why can't I pick it up and take it out?"

Stadium official Patrick Leonard says it's a health issue, "They must have been observed picking bottles up from the ground that weren't here and our concern is not that they are going to get a 5 cent deposit. It's more of a health hazard if people know they can pick up bottles inside they will start going through rubbish."

But if it's a health hazard why do they allow stadium employees to profit from the discarded bottles. Leonard admits, "We do have a recycling program I wasn't aware of it, the employees go around and collect the bottles the reason why we don't allow people to pick up the bottles is health reasons."

Fernandez talked to an attorney who advised him there was nothing illegal about collecting bottles because there is no sign or printed rule on the ticket to inform fans about the recycling ban.

The stadium authority says they do allow people to recycle cans and bottles found out in the parking lot. But they are not allowed to go through trash cans.

Fernandez says the stadium needs a recycling program. Stadium officials say they tried it and it didn't work.