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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    November  3, 2005

Release M-90

 

MAYOR  ANNOUNCES  AUTOMATED CURBSIDE PICKUP OF GREEN WASTE

 

Mayor Mufi Hannemann today announced plans for the City Department of Environmental Services to begin curbside pickup of green waste next March in neighborhoods where blue recycling bins were distributed last year.

 

 Homeowners would  place yard cuttings, lawn clippings and other green waste in their blue bins.  City automated trucks will pick up green waste from curbside bins twice a month, the day after one of their scheduled regular trash pickup days.

 

The service will begin on March 1 in Mililani, Wahiawa and the North Shore up to Sunset Beach. Service on the Windward Coast from Kahuku to Waimanalo will begin on March 15.  

 

The green waste will be taken to one of two composting sites operated by Hawaiian Earth Products under existing contracts and turned into mulch. That mulch would be made available free to the public.

 

“We plan to take this program islandwide because it will maximize our efforts to reduce our waste stream and the need for space in landfills,” said Mayor Mufi Hannemann. “Two weeks ago, I announced we were canceling plans for curbside recycling of cans and bottles and newspapers because of the likelihood of protracted legal battles over the contract. In addition, under the previous administration’s plan, the best estimate is that the City would only collect only about 20,000 tons of those ‘mixed recyclables’ out of the 1.6 million tons of waste produced on Oahu each year.

 

“By recycling all of our green waste, we could potentially remove 200,000 tons from the waste stream each year. More than that, removing green waste from H-POWER would make that facility more efficient. With its high moisture content, green waste is a less-preferable fuel for the waste-to-energy plant,” said the mayor.

 

“Green waste recycling is what some people call a fully sustainable, closed-loop system. That is, the waste is recycled here on Oahu, where it is produced,” said Hannemann. “On the other hand, bottles, cans and newspapers have to be hauled overseas on fuel-burning ships to be recycled. As I announced previously, we will expand our efforts to encourage people to recycle those materials with the white bins in the schools and the Hawaii bottle redemption program. But it makes no sense to focus our efforts on those materials while burning far more green waste in H-POWER or burying it in landfills each year.

 

“It’s all about education,” said the mayor. “The public has got to realize that recycling green waste will be the most effective way to protect the ‘aina by maximizing our use of H-POWER, reducing our need for landfills and making the best use of your tax dollars.”

 

Public education about the new service begins at tomorrow’s Discover Reycling Fair, a unprecedented, comprehensive gathering of information and resources about recycling. The fair runs tomorrow through Sunday at the Blaisdell Center. Admission is free and the hours are:

 

·       Tomorrow: 1 to 5 p.m.

·       Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

·       Sunday : 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

 

The United Public Workers, which represents blue-collar City workers, agreed in principle this week to the planned expansion of green waste curbside pickup.

 

The City currently collects bundled green waste curbside twice a month in most residential areas, which amounts to about 30,000 tons a year. The Department of Environmental Services estimates it burns or buries another 110,000 tons in residential green waste each year. Commercial  haulers handle an additional 60,000 tons. Even if we recycle only three-fourths of the residential green waste on Oahu each year, that would amount to 80,000 tons that wouldn’t have to be burned at H-POWER or buried at landfills.

 

In addition, the expanded green waste program will make use of the 50,000 blue bins purchased by the prior administration.

 

      The City has spent $640,000 on the blue bins, which were ordered last year under a seven-year, lease-to-purchase contract. It will ultimately pay a total of approximately $2.5 million for them

 

“Once automated green waste pickup service begins in March, homeowners who have more green waste than will fit in a blue 64-gallon bin will also be able to use their gray, 96-gallon bins,” said Environmental Services Director Eric Takamura. “That’s because some of the trucks the City will use will be adjusted to enable them to pick up two sizes of bins.

 

“The cost of expanding the program this fiscal year to the neighborhoods that have blue bins will be roughly $1 million. Expanding green waste pickup islandwide will be cost about $7 million a year, “ Takamura said.

 

 

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Contact:

Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767

 

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

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