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EPA funds $397,600 to the Big Island for West Hawai'i recycling projects

Release Date: 10/27/2004
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

New center to collect aluminum, office paper, glass, toner cartridges, much more

HONOLULU -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $397,600 to the county of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Island Economic Development Board that will improve recycling in West Hawai'i.

The West Hawai'i project, which opens Oct. 30, is the second phase of the Big Island's recycling pilot project started at Kea'au in East Hawai'i. Building on the Kea'au effort, the West Hawai'i project will test recycling models and examine if making recycling simpler for homeowners will increase public participation and increase the amount of solid waste diverted from landfills. The West Hawai'i project has previously received $223,500 in EPA funding.

"Engaging the community and area businesses is vital to making recycling a success, which is especially important on an island with limited area for new landfills," said Jeff Scott, waste division director for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "Encouraging and implementing recycling will play an essential role in reducing the amount of solid waste that goes to the already overburdened landfills on the Big Island."

The goals of the project are to:

-transform a solid waste transfer station in Kona into one that maximizes recovery of resources;
-improve on-island composting, and recycling;
-create jobs and income for island residents;
-comply with the state's waste management goals;
-reduce the county's overall solid waste management costs; and
-create partnerships with the Kona area hotels to increase the amount of recovered materials.

The new recycling center will recycle aluminum, office paper, magazines, plastics, cardboard, mixed paper, inkjet and toner cartridges, newspaper, #1 and #2 plastics and glass. The West Hawai'i location will also house a redemption center for the implementation of the state bottle bill.

The Kea'au Recycling and Reuse Center in East Hawai'i collected 920 tons of material over 9 months, raising the residential recycling rate at the Kea'au Transfer Station from 2 percent to almost 17 percent. In addition, the center employs special needs workers to convert newspaper into packing materials, and channeling more than 1,200 volunteer hours to develop and operate the center.

This project is a model for America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. Visit for more information.