The Green Leaf

The gray bin

February 26th, 2014


Image courtesy of Honolulu Department of Environmental Services.

Image courtesy of Honolulu Department of Environmental Services.

So let's take a look at what goes in your gray bin, otherwise known as your trash bin, and the alternatives that are also available.

The city and county of Honolulu says all other general household rubbish — the non-recyclable trash that doesn't go in  your blue and green bins — goes in your gray bin.

What goes in your gray bin: Plastic bags, plastics No. 3-7, Styrofoam, telephone books, junk mail, magazines, cereal boxes, tissue boxes, paper plates, napkins, ceramics, dishes and glassware.

Now the city wants you to BAG YOUR TRASH, unlike the items in the blue and green bins, which it wants LOOSE.

Here are some recycling options for those items, though they won't necessarily be convenient (no curbside pickup).

>> Plastic bags can be recycled, though most people I know like to reuse them as liners for wastebaskets, dog poop and the like. However, if you want to recycle them, supermarkets like Safeway have a collection bin outside their stores.

>> Magazines, phonebooks, brochures and catalogs can also be recycled at Hagadone Printing, by dropping these off at its Kalihi headquarters. 274 Puuhale Rd. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon on second Saturdays. However, there's a limit of five phonebooks per household. If you don't live near town, this could really be out of your way, but still, it's an option. (Look for a blog post on this in the near future).

>> Plastic bottle caps. There have been past efforts to try to recycle bottle caps, without much luck. However, the Kokua Hawaii Foundation is collecting caps this year as part of its Hawai‘i School Bottle Cap Collection Challenge. Schools have until March 31 to collect caps and can win a special performance by Jack Johnson.

>> e-Waste. Also, if you have electronic waste, Pacific Corporate Solutions offers free e-waste events. They will be picking up e-waste from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at 1564 N. King St., Saturday, March 15 at Kaimuki High School. Also, Saturday, March 15 at Koko Marina Center. Computers, monitors, laptops, printers, fafx machines and telecom equipment (all brands) accepted. No TVs or microwave ovens.

>> Sneakers. Also, the last I checked, the Converse Outlet at Waikele Premium Outlets was accepting sneakers of all kinds for recycling. Niketown Waikiki (now closed) used to accept them. Once again, depending where you live, this could be out of your way, but good to know.

So now you know what goes in each bin. As always, reduce comes before reuse and recycle (the 3 Rs. of recycling). And not all environmentalists are gung-ho about H-POWER because it releases carbon emissions into the air.

Sign  up for the city's wasteline e-newsletter if you want to be one of the first to learn about the new dates for Tour de Trash this year. There are also cute educational tools, like an Opala IQ book, this "Where Do Things Go?" web game and a whole series of recycling songs (listen to them all here) by artists like Henry Kapono, Jack Johnson and the Lava Jam Band.

By the way, if you're not sure what your collection schedule is, you can find it by entering your zip code at this link.

4 Responses to “The gray bin”

  1. zzzzzz:

    Home Depot is a recycling option for fluorescent bulbs and certain rechargeable batteries (I think they will recycle Ni-Cd batteries).

    Note that e-waste should not go in the gray bins. lists options for disposing e-waste. Here's a plug for Hawaiian Hope, who will accept working computer hardware and use it to assemble complete working computer systems to be given to underprivileged families, and can especially use hard drives, keyboards, mice, and monitors. e-waste that is broken beyond reuse can be recycled at collection drives.

  2. zzzzzz:

    What's the appropriate place for food waste? The gray bin, or the garbage disposal?

    I'm pretty sure that grease should be absorbed with paper and thrown in the gray bin, from where it can go to H-power, just like used motor oil, and not cause clogs in the sewer lines.

    But what about stuff like banana peels that aren't supposed to go in the green bin?

  3. Nina Wu:

    Yes, I think Home Depot & Lowe's both take fluorescent bulbs! I believe Best Buy has a bin near its entrance for printer cartridges, rechargable batteries & CDs, DVDs and cases.

  4. Nina Wu:

    The city would probably say your gray bin, but you can start your own food composting system at home - there are several options: worms, bokashi, look for a post on this in the near future. Thx for reading!

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