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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bi-metal cans also recycled

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Columnist

Q. I saw you mentioned a change in the redemption rates for beverage containers and you gave the rates for bi-metal containers. I try to recycle as much as possible and wasn't aware of this category of container. Can you tell me more about it?

A. Bi-metal containers are typically cans composed of steel with a tin coating, said Jennifer Tosaki of the state Department of Health, which oversees the redemption centers. The easiest way to identify a bi-metal can is to look for a seam running vertically up the side of the can. Aluminum cans don't have those seams and are usually lighter than bi-metal cans.

Tosaki said the most common example of a bi-metal can that you can redeem for your nickel deposit is pineapple juice, because acidic juices often are packaged in bi-metal. Another beverage that shows up in this packaging is coconut juice.

If you're wondering about those other bi-metal cans you buy, such as tuna or chili, city recycling coordinator Suzanne Jones assures us that such metal containers that are put in the regular rubbish still get recycled. During processing of the garbage, Jones said, metals are pulled from the waste stream by powerful magnets at the H-POWER facility. She said the metals not only get recycled but generate about $1.5 million in annual revenue for the city as scrap metal.

Q. We have been working to get much-needed road resurfacing work done on Laukahi Road and other side streets in Wai'alae Iki for five years. But we have faced many delays. As tax-paying citizens, I believe we have been extremely patient and have a right to a proper roadway. Can you find out what the city status of this project is?

A. Your letter detailed a number of delays and stumbling blocks. City officials said roads are resurfaced based on a number of priorities, funding availability and road conditions. So, unfortunately, your tale of bureaucratic delays is not that uncommon when the city has hundreds of miles of roads that require regular maintenance.

The best answer we got came from city road maintenance director Larry Leopardi. He said progress is being made and his department is "trying to contract with a private contractor to mill/cold plane both sides of the road." The bad news is that involves the procurement process, so there is no schedule yet on when that will begin.

He said that process will be thorough and involve work on seven feet of road on each side. After that's done, "then our in-house crews will overlay the entire width with asphalt concrete."