By: Leland Kim
MILILANI MAUKA (KHNL) - Oahu residents produce about 1.5 million tons of waste each year, and our landfills barely have any room left. That's why Honolulu's mayor says it's critical that we start a curbside-recycling program. He pitched the idea Monday night to people who live in Mililani Mauka.
Monday night was the first of six community meetings the mayor has scheduled. His goal is to get people's input and make recycling everyone's responsibility.
The Fukames have lived in Mililani Mauka for a dozen years.
"I guess when we first moved here, there were just a few homes, and the rest they were just building," says Wally Fukumae, a Mililani Mauka resident who bought his home in 1995.
They recycle cans, bottles, and other recyclable goods. For a while, their neighborhood had curbside recycling but that stopped two years ago. So they've had to adjust.
"We always have to take our newspapers or all our other stuff to school, instead of just putting it here," says Alyssa Fukumae, a fifth grader who attends Mililani Mauka Elementary.
The neighborhood still has blue bins, but they're only for green waste that's picked up twice a month. The Fukames say they'd like their curbside recycling back.
"Recycling is very good because it can help the environment instead of throwing everything away, then the dumps will get bigger and there will be less space for us on the island," says Alyssa Fukumae.
Monday night, Wally and his neighbors gathered at Mililani Mauka Elementary to listen to Mayor Mufi Hannemann. Under a proposed program, the two weekly trash pick-ups will turn into one trash and one recyclable. For those that want a second weekly trash pickup, there will be an extra fee.
"If you want that second-day-a-week pick up of your opala, we are proposing that we charge ten dollars for that," says the mayor.
The Fukames said they'd be happy to make the sacrifice for a cleaner 'aina.
"We need to show good example for our kids so that they instill that same way of recycling, and it's basically second nature for them," says Wally Fukamae.