Of course we all know about the argument to maintaining a more sustainable lifestyle and the benefits for the earth. But certain businesses see their future riding on a cleaner planet. Tour operators that offer Maui scuba diving, scenic tours on Oahu, Kauai helicopter tours and the like have a vested interest in conservation in Hawaii. Without the pristine nature of our island chain, few visitors would pay to tour it.
Being that tourism is such a huge economic force for Hawaii, combined with the national trends, means that recycling in Hawaii is thriving. All of the main Hawaiian Islands have active recycling operations including various recycling and redemption centers as well as non-profit and for-profit organizations that have the goal of promoting environmentally sustainable practices including recycling programs for both residential and commercial customers.
On Oahu a company called RRR Recycling designed and built their own recycling truck called the Mobile Redemption Center (MRC) including six Reverse Vending Machines. In addition to recycling beverage containers, RRR Recycling processes white paper, cardboard, and newspaper from both commercial and residential customers.
Reynolds Recycling has 39 locations on four islands: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island, creating Hawaii’s largest recycling network dealing with scrap metal and HI-5 redemption centers. Reynolds accepts copper, aluminum, brass, and non-magnetic stainless steel.
Oahu Community Recycling (OCR) offers recycling programs for Oahu communities including businesses as well as houses. OCR also participates in community development programs that help companies cut down on waste.
Recycle Hawaii is located on the Big Island and offers free public recycling education in conjunction with the county. Recycle Hawaii is a non-profit with the mission of promoting resource awareness as well as recycling on the Big Island to promote sustainability. They also run a website and publish a newsletter.
Hawaii’s Bottle Bill dictates that a five cent deposit is required on every beverage container that is defined under the law, and this includes aluminum, plastic, and glass beverage containers. In addition, a one-cent non-refundable container fee is charged that helps to pay for the recycling program.
Containers covered under the bottle bill are marked with a “HI 5¢” or “Hawaii 5¢.” Consumers can receive this 5¢ back when they take it to a redemption center to recycle it. The bill does not cover containers larger than 68 fluid ounces, nor does it cover liquor and milk.
The 3R’s Recycling Program is run by the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and provides resource, training, and recycling bins to Oahu schools at no cost.
The 3R’s Recycling Program also helps with recycling pickups when needed. Every classroom in the participating schools is given a bins for cans, bottles, plastic, paper, and cardboard recycling. Income from the program goes back to the schools, and the program promotes the 3 R’s: reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Island Recycling on Oahu is located in Campbell Industrial Park and accepts and collects a variety of materials to recycle including cardboard, paper, scrap metal, plastic and appliances Island Recycling is open seven days a week and collects material from both residential and commercial customers.
The Maui Recycling Service offers full service curbside recycling for both commercial and residential customers. All of the company’s trucks and their personal cars are fueled by biodiesel made from recycled vegetable oil.
The Maui Recycling Group provides education and training as well as technical assistance in Maui County helping to encourage environmentally sound waste resource practices. The group is a non-profit that works with Maui government agencies and has implemented various recycling based programs including the Maui Green Building Program.