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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 2, 2006

Slow but smooth start for green waste program

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

HOW IT WORKS

How Honolulu's new green waste system works:

Who: Communities eligible for curbside automated pickup are those that received blue bins: Mililani, Wahiawa, Waialua, Hale'iwa, Sunset, Kahuku, La'ie, Hau'ula, Ka'a'awa, Waikane, Waiahole, Kahalu'u, Kane'ohe and Kailua.

When: Twice-per-month collection (on days immediately following trash pickup days) from blue bins;

How much: Got more green waste than fits into one cart? You also can use your gray rubbish bin on green waste day. And if you have even more, you can buy an additional green cart or call for special pickup.

Loose waste? Deposit loose green waste into cart without using bags or ties.

What about everyone else? For communities that didn't get the blue bins, green waste will continue to be collected curbside on the twice-a-month schedule.

More information: Residents can find out more on the Web at www.opala.org or call the Environmental Concern line at 692-5656.

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The first day of the city picking up green waste in the blue bins originally designed for such trash as bottles, cans and newspapers started slowly but smoothly, city officials said.

Former Mayor Jeremy Harris had purchased 50,000 blue bins for curbside recycling but did not begin using them before ending his term. Mayor Mufi Hannemann canceled use of the bins for mixed recyclables, saying that it was more cost-efficient to focus on getting more green waste out of the refuse cycle and scheduled the bin pickup to begin yesterday.

Residents who got the blue bins also should have received a flier in the mail explaining when to put out the yard clippings.

City refuse collection administrator David Shiraishi said five trucks went to rubbish routes in several neighborhoods across the island including Waimanalo, Mililani, Mililani Mauka and Hau'ula yesterday and will be out again today in Windward O'ahu, Mililani and in Hale'iwa.

Shiraishi said the workload was "very light" yesterday as people are still getting the word about the new practice. A total of 327 bins were picked up in the three areas serviced. He rode along on a Waimanalo route of 1,000 homes, and the truck emptied 27 carts. He expects that to pick up in the coming weeks.

Hannemann has worked out a plan where the city uses automated city trucks to pick up green waste from curbside blue bins twice a month that would occur the day after a scheduled regular trash pickup day, he said.

Residents already can get twice-a-month green-waste pickup, but they must bag or bundle their grass and clippings for pickup by a three-person crew. Under this plan, Hannemann said, the blue bins that were intended for curbside household recycling will now be used for yard waste.

Reach Robbie Dingeman at rdingeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.