By Nina Wu
So let's talk about the green bin.
Oahu residents are doing pretty well when it comes to putting yard waste in the green bin, with a capture rate of 77 percent, which reflects higher participation and recovery levels, according to a 2011 city report.
What goes in the green bin: Yard trimmings, leaves, grass clippings and Christmas trees (chopped up). The yard trimmings should go into the green bin LOOSE, meaning no plastic bags here, either, because plastic is not compostable.
Also, in case you were wondering about many of these eco-friendly products out there — like cornstarch plastic flatware and compostable food containers, they don't belong in the green bin, according Suzanne Jones, the city's assistant chief of refuse. Honolulu does not have a commercial compost facility, at least not yet.
Yard waste goes to Hawaiian Earth Products in Kapolei, where it is composted into organic soil called Menehune Magic, which you can find at local stores. Pretty cool!
As of Dec. 31, 2013, Hawaiian Earth Products said it had recycled 1.1 million tons. What's nice about this process is that the material stays here, on island, and doesn't have to be shipped anywhere.
The city is considering whether to include fruit and vegetable waste in the green carts one day, but those plans are still in the works. Meanwhile, check out this new booklet called "Food: Too Good to Waste" with recipes and smart food tips form local chefs. There are also at-home composting options, including worm composting, Bokashi and – something we just bought — a composter from naturemill.net. Look out for a future blog post on composting at home.