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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 17, 2006

BUREAUCRACY BUSTER
Recycled cans can be crushed

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Columnist

Q. Why is this the only state or city that recycles that doesn't allow you to crush the cans?

A. The ban on crushing cans was in place for the first 18 months of the program, state Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said. But she said that changed on July 7 after Gov. Linda Lingle signed a law allowing the flattening of metal and plastic beverage containers for deposit. While you can crush the containers, you have to recycle them at a center that weighs the containers because they can't be processed in the reverse-vending machines.

Q. I took about 100 containers to the recycling center, and it said I had to agree to weighing them instead of counting them, unless I wanted to feed them individually into the reverse-vending machines. Can this be right?

A. Yes, Okubo said. For loads larger than 50 containers, the recycler has the option to weigh the containers and pay redemption based on weight. The amount of containers per pound by material type is set by the Department of Health and is based on the average number of containers in a pound. Those rates are:

  • Aluminum = 30 containers per pound.

  • Bi-metal = 8 containers per pound.

  • Plastic = 16.6 containers per pound.

  • Glass = 2.4 containers per pound.

    Q. Why is the state still charging that penny-a-container fee if there's a surplus in the deposit fund?

    A. Okubo said that's because the HI-5 fund pays more to process recyclables than is collected. She explained that the program gets operating funds from the 1-cent container fee, plus the unredeemed deposits.

    The redemption rate dramatically affects the money in the operating fund, she said. So the more people recycle, the less money there is to run the program.

    For more information, online go to www.hi5deposit .com. Or call the Department of Health at 586-4226. On the Neighbor Islands:

    Big Island 961-8527.

    Kaua'i 241-5112.

    Maui 270-7874.

    If you have a question or a problem and need help getting to the right person, you can reach The Bureaucracy Buster one of three ways:

    WRITE TO:

    The Bureaucracy Buster
    The Honolulu Advertiser
    605 Kapi'olani Blvd.
    Honolulu, HI 96813

    E-mail: buster@honoluluadvertiser.com

    Phone: 535-2454 and leave a message. Be sure to give us your name and daytime telephone number in case we need more information.