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August 18, 2004





The City and County of Honolulu has been required to discontinue the Mililani curbside recycling pilot program because of a complaint filed by the United Public Workers labor union.  Mililani residents are being notified by mail that the pilot project will end next week.


The City will be entering into discussions with labor unions and working with contractors to get the islandwide program up and running.   Labor was not agreeable to continuing the pilot on a month-to-month basis while discussing the islandwide program operations.


The Mayor commented, "It is unfortunate that the labor union will not allow the City to continue this very popular curbside recycling program in Mililani while union negotiations and labor issues are being resolved.  It's perplexing to me that the union would take issue with this excellent environmental program that adds--not reduces--the number of employees in our solid waste collection program.


“What we learned in Mililani will help us design and implement the islandwide curbside recycling program.  I would like to thank Mililani residents who supported and participated in the pilot program.  So many of our residents realize the importance of recycling in protecting our environment and reducing our dependence on landfills.  It's the right thing to do.”


Residents will receive the direct-mail announcement on or before August 20 with information on the program’s completion and alternative locations to bring recyclables.


The week of August 23 is the last week of curbside collection.  Green waste collection will return to pre-pilot manual collection schedules.


“The efforts and feedback of Mililani residents are greatly appreciated by all of us working to develop the island’s curbside recycling program,” said Suzanne Jones, Recycling Coordinator for the Department.


R.W. Beck conducted an evaluation report of the Mililani pilot that was presented to the Honolulu City Council on March 10. The complete pilot project evaluation report is available online: Below are survey findings on Mililani that contributed to the development of the islandwide system.



  • Participation and recovery were good.  Approximately 68% of Mililani residents indicated that they were participating in the recycling pilot.  80% of those who participated requested a green cart to use for recycling.  20% used their single gray cart and rotated it between refuse and recycling.  This level of voluntary participation captured 33% of the available recyclable material.  There was a 50% reduction in usage of the community’s drop-off recycling bins.


  • Unexpected levels of contamination suggested the need for operational changes.  14% of the mixed recyclables collected contained unacceptable materials (contamination).   Rotating cart usage and alternating collection weeks contributed to contamination, with the majority of contamination due to crossing the streams — green waste mistakenly set out on mixed recyclables day and vice versa.  Dedicated, color-coded carts would resolve this problem.


  • Data gathered about once-per-week refuse collection was quite interesting, but led the City to maintain the current twice-per-week collection service.  Overall, up to 77% of Mililani residents were willing to reduce to once-per-week refuse collection depending upon the options provided.  24% of Mililani households indicated that once-per-week refuse collection was sufficient.  If the second day of trash pickup meant paying a fee, 44% would prefer once-per-week collection.  And 58% said yes to once-per-week if they could have two gray carts to handle their weekly trash.


  • 83% support islandwide curbside recycling



Wednesday, August 18, 2004

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