City’s appointment-based pilot for bulky item trash pickup gets mixed reviews

Get ready for really big changes to bulky item pickup

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city’s new appointment-based system for picking up bulky item trash in the urban core got mixed reviews Monday.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell stressed last week that the switch to an appointment-based system is part of a pilot project. But he also made it clear that it’s a pilot with a long shelf life ― running at least through January ― and that if the demonstration doesn’t work the alternative might be charging for pickup.

The city hasn’t said if this pilot will be taken islandwide.

(Image: City and County of Honolulu)
(Image: City and County of Honolulu)

“There’s no other city in our country of large size that picks up bulky items for free,” he said. “We’re subsidizing the pick up of our solid waste more and more every year.”

Rey McClellan, resident manager at the Sunset Lakeview housing complex, was scrambling Monday to store items left in front of his building overnight to avoid a fine.

“Now it’s lose-lose because we’re stuck with bulky items that we actually have to bring into our storage," he said.

Under the pilot, residents from Foster Village to Hawaii Kai (and including Waikiki) have to reserve a pickup appointment and then put out their trash no earlier than the night before.

They’ll also be limited on how much trash they can throw away at once.

Single-family homes are limited to five items per pickup. Multi-unit buildings are limited to 20.

Appointments can be made online at opala.org or by calling 768-3200.

Lori Kahikina, director of city Environmental Services, said the city has gotten “a lot of criticism” about the pilot. But she said business as usual is no longer an option.

“Our existing system is broken,” she said. “Give it a chance. Follow the rules and maybe it will work.”

One major concern: Will the switch mean more illegal dumping?

Kahikina acknowledged there’s a risk of that, and said inspectors will be out in force to “educate” residents about the new rules and determine if more dumping is happening.

She stressed that homeowners who place their items out on the curb early could be ticketed. As is the case now, they could also face a violation if someone else dumps something in front of their home.

Kahikina said she’s hopeful the switch to an appointment-based system will encourage people to reuse items or donate them rather than throwing them away.

“As a community, please stop,” she said. “Please stop creating so much waste.”

The city noted that from 2008 to 2018, it saw an 80 percent increase in bulky item trash picked up islandwide ― from 6,500 tons to nearly 12,000.

This story will be updated.

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