April 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm 7 comments

 Mayor Alan Arakawa is supporting the first Maui County initiative for curbside recycling. Now we need to let every member of the county council know that we support this initiative.

In his February 25 State of the County speech, the mayor spoke about starting a curbside recycling program in Kihei. “We plan to expand this service to all of Maui County as soon as possible,” he said. “This has been a goal we’ve been talking about for years. . . . Let’s do it.”

The mayor’s budget contains $50,000 for processing the curbside recycling project , $35,000 for education about the project and somewhat less than $350,000 for new containers. The final costs may be less than these estimates.

However the County Council must deciding wether or not to fund the program during its current series of budget-setting meetings. Their decision will be influenced by testimony from the public, which means you. If you want curbside recycling, attend any of the county council meetings from today through May 4. The entire budget must be approved by the end of May or first part of June.


  • You will have the convenience to to put almost all your recycling in one container and only have to take it as far as your curb.
  • When fully implemented, Curbside recycling will reduce landfill use by 15%-20%, extending the
    life of our current landfill and saving much taxpayer money.
  • Your yard trimmings will become food for new plants instead of waste in a landfill.
  • Your recyclables will become new products.
  • Increased public participation in recycling and conservation.
  • Increased understanding of environmental issues.


The Maui County Solid Waste Division is proposing a first phase test of curbside recycling to be conduced in Kihei—in Maui Meadows and most of the area between Hoonani and Kapuna streets. The program will be phased in across Maui County over the next few years, depending upon council funding.

There will be three types of curbside pickup, each in its own container:

  1. Regular trash (goes into the landfill)
  2. Recycling:
    put all recyclables in same container – no need to separate by kind (see details below).
  3. Yard trimmings with select kitchen organics:
    will be converted into compost. (see details below)

The Recycling Section is recommending the county consider a version of the “Pay As You Throw” or PAYT programs, (also known as unit pricing or variable-rate pricing). 700 U.S. communities already have some form of PAYT, but none yet in Hawai’i. PAYT programs are shown to motivate residents to reduce the amount of waste they make.

 In the proposed program, residents choose and pay for one of three sizes of refuse container—32 gallons, 64 gallons or 96 gallons. The current refuse containers are all 96 gallons and the rate is $16 to $17 per month. Smaller containers would cost the county less to purchase and have a lower monthly fee for residents.

Recycling and green waste containers would all be one size—96 gallons.

Refuse would be picked up once per week. Recycling and Green Waste would alternately be picked up every other week.

Although the Recycling Section of the Solid Waste Department is recommending the county adopt PAYT, the decision will be made by Department of Environmental Management along with the mayor and council members.

All recycled material will be marketed by the county’s processing contractor to be manufactured into new products.

The Recycling Section is developing the list of items you will be able to recycle. The following list is a draft. Items may be added or excluded as research continues.

  • Plastic: all #1 and #2 plastic, bottles, jugs and coffee tubs, and lids.
  • Aluminum: cans, pop tops, foil, trays
  • Metal (steel or tin): cans, lids and caps
  • Paper:
  • Bags
  • Cardboard
  • Office and computer paper
  • Envelopes
  • Junk mail
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Gabletop milk and juice containers

Curbside recycling will not collect:

  • Glass (you will still need to take this to the redemption center)
  • Plastic bags
  • wrapping paper, soiled paper towels, used napkins, used paper plates,
    paper cartons
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic silverware
  • Ice cream containers (they have a plastic liner)
  • Electronics
  • Helium or propane tanks
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Small appliances
  • Dirt, rocks

The county will collect:

  • Grass and flower cuttings
  • Tree and hedge trimmings
  • House plants without soil
  • Christmas trees
  • Palm fronds
  • Kitchen organics:
    • The fibrous, hard stuff should be put in the organics container for composting.
      You will continue to put soft kitchen organics down the garbage disposal.
    • Vegetable and fruit peels, skin, rinds, stems and pits.
    • Pineapple tops
    • Artichoke leaves
    • Corn cobs
    • Food soiled:
      • Napkins
      • Paper towels
      • Paper plates
      • Pizza boxes
      • Cartons
        Tip: you can use a milk carton to store kitchen organics in your refrigerator
        or freezer for the next curbside organics pickup.

Curbside yard trimmings and kitchen organics will not collect:

  • Meat (use garbage disposal)
  • Seafood (use garbage disposal)
  • Diary (use garbage disposal)
  • Liquids (use garbage disposal)

The green waste yard trimmings will go to Eko Compost near the South Puunene Avenue landfill, where it will be finely ground up and “Heat Composted” by the high temperature naturally generated by decomposition of large amounts of plant matter. Heat composting kills infectious single-celled organisms by drying up their outer membrane and produces Class A compost for lawns, potted plants, fruit and vegetable gardens and farms. The final step of decomposition comes from Hawai’ian sunlight after the compost is spread on the soil.


  • Call or write the mayor to thank him for making curbside recycling a county priority.
  • Attend a county council budget meeting to testify in favor of curbside
  • Write, email or call council members to encourage them to support the proposal.
  • Write a letter to the editor of the Maui News, Maui Time, etc.
  • Forward this email to your friends.

   Contact Hana Steel, Ph.D., Recycling Coordinator
   Solid Waste Division
   Department of Environmental Management
   County of Maui
   200 South High Street
   Wailuku, Hawaii 96793
   Phone: 808-270-7847
   Fax: 808-270-7843

Find PAYT information on the web:

Vegetable Garden Design and Care Workshop Waikinalani Farm Project

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Robin D. Vanderpool  |  May 7, 2011 at 8:58 am


  • 2. sabine  |  May 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Wonderful !… and… Finally 🙂

  • 3. Stephanie  |  May 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Where are all of the County Council Budget Meetings held? Perhaps you can post the “when” and “where” to make it a bit easier for the masses to support this cause.

  • 5. Tia Christensen  |  May 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Rock on Mayor Alan Arakawa!

  • 6. footesea  |  May 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

    If someone were to make a “Curbside Recycling for Maui” facebook page, I will certainly “Like” it and spread the word…could be a quick & easy way to show support.

  • 7. David Fisher  |  May 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Hooray! Long time coming! Linda Lingle actually tried to do this circa ’91 but was opposed by the union.


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