The Green Leaf

The blue bin

February 24th, 2014


Ok, so let's look at what the city and county of Honolulu accepts in the blue bin.

PET1>> No. 1 and No. 2 plastics. To find out what kind of plastic a container is, look for the number inside the triangle printed on the bottom. Generally, No. 1 plastics (Polyethylene terphthalate, or PETs) includes water bottles, shampoo and body wash bottles, and the clamshell containers that contain blueberries, spring mix and cocktail tomatoes that you buy from the supermarket or Costco. I've also found many of the SOLO brand clear plastic cups and containers to be No. 1. No. 2 plastics (High-density Polyethylene) generally include milk jugs, laundry detergent containers and vitamin bottles.  Take the bottle caps off before tossing into the blue bin.

>> Newspapers and office paper. Yes, your copy of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, MidWeek and other newspapers goes in the blue bin. Thank you for recycling! What you may not know is that the city also accepts white and colored office paper now.

>> Cardboard. So the city only accepts corrugated cardboard, which is the thick kind (you can see a wavy line between two layers). If you get an Amazon delivery, it's in corrugated cardboard. Put it in the blue bin. Cereal and tissue boxes and egg cartons are made of thinner paper material and unfortunately, the city does not recycle those.

>> Glass. All glass bottles and jars. Of course, you can redeem glass beverage containers at Reynold's Recycling or RRR Recycling. But if you don't care about getting your nickel back, throw them in the blue bin. Empty glass mason jars that hold spaghetti sauce, jelly and wine bottles also go in the blue bin.

>> Metal cans. This includes aluminum and steel cans for sodas, soups and cat food.

Put these items all in the blue bin LOOSE, meaning not in plastic bags, which the city doesn't recycle. If you're interested in recycling your plastic bags, supermarkets like Safeway have a bin outside that collect them.

Look for this "Sort it out" display on your way in and out of Costco (plus free stickers to take home).

Look for this "Sort it out" display on your way in and out of Costco (plus free stickers to take home).

If you need reminders, pick up the handy sticker that the city prints out, which is available for free at all Costco warehouses on Oahu. (Look for them next to a display near the entrance or exit).

Now, other municipalities on the mainland accept more items for recycling — for instance, San Francisco accepts all kinds of plastics (No. 1-No. 7) as well as cereal boxes.

Suzanne Jones, assistant chief for the refuse division, says this is because Honolulu chooses recyclables with highest market value. From a practical point of view, she said cereal boxes have more value going to HPOWER, which burns waste to energy.


4 Responses to “The blue bin”

  1. zzzzzz:

    Don't forget that corrugated pizza boxes are also recyclable, even if they have some grease spots or bits of cheese stuck to them.

  2. Nina Wu:

    Thanks! Yes, pizza boxes are generally corrugated cardboard. Scrape the cheese off...Nina

  3. Keith:

    Nina, I did not know that steel cans could be put in the blue bin. Thanks for the info. Keith

  4. Nina Wu:

    Sure! Thanks for reading...The city decided to go ahead and accept steel cans in the blue bin along with aluminum cans to make it easier for the public. The cans are pulled out with magnets...

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