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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 27, 2006

Recycling bill fails to make the grade

The City Council showed its true colors last week. And it's definitely not a shade of green.

The unanimous passage of a feeble curbside recycling measure was hardly a show of environmental stewardship.

Faced with a landfill crisis, the council didn't have the courage to aggressively tackle the problem head-on. Instead, it bought time and passed a plan that puts off curbside recycling until July 1, 2007.

Even then, the bill allows for the recycling of just two items. Cans, bottles, paper, compost? Just two items. The council gave itself another year to add two more items.

That means by July 2008, Honolulu might have a program that most cities our size have already had in place for years.

There's no reason for the delay. The overburdened Waimanalo Gulch landfill is set to close by May 2008, even though the city has no new site right now for a replacement landfill. Putting off recycling today only adds to the mountain of trouble down the line.

Addressing our landfill crisis requires a comprehensive approach that includes curbside recycling in addition to expanding our curbside green-waste pickup and more.

Given the delayed start date, the council's challenge now will be to look at even more aggressive ideas to help ease the long wait for a curbside program. A good place to start would be waking up to the reality that we need another landfill site. And soon.