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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Curbside recycling proposal advances

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

A key City Council committee yesterday kept alive a bill that would force the city administration to establish a curbside recycling program by Jan. 1.

City environmental services director Eric Takamura testified against the move to require the administration of Mayor Mufi Hannemann to create curbside recycling by next year.

Takamura said the administration looked at the pilot curbside recycling project done in Mililani and the estimated numbers that would be collected, and then figured it made better economic sense to focus on more green waste yard clippings and trimmings rather than bottles, cans and newspaper.

He estimated it would cost $80 a ton for green waste recycling compared with $400 a ton for curbside. Takamura said the state's nickel deposit on most beverage containers also took a lot of potential curbside containers out of the mix.

Hannemann announced in October that he would abandon a planned household curbside recycling program created by former Mayor Jeremy Harris but would work on other ways to reduce waste going into the island's only municipal landfill on the Wai'anae Coast.

Council Public Works Committee chairman Rod Tam said he wants to move forward with the bill but add a task force that would help address concerns by the city administration that some recycling options are too expensive in a tight-budget year.

Jeff Mikulina of the Sierra Club's Hawai'i chapter said curbside recycling is necessary to help solve the city's landfill and waste crisis.

At least 30 people attended the meeting, many of them wearing green "Got curbside?" T-shirts.

Attorney Isaac Moriwake, testifying as a private citizen, said Honolulu needs to adopt a recycling program similar to those that thousands of cities have and not stop at green waste.

Tam said the changes also would add the recycling specifics suggested by the Sierra Club.

The bill will be taken up by the full council tomorrow.

Reach Robbie Dingeman at rdingeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.