Archive for the ‘recycling’ Category

Bottle Caps

March 10th, 2014
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Students at Lanikai Elementary are participating in Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's School Bottle Cap Collection Challenge. Looks like they even have a special collection container. Courtesy photo.

Students at Lanikai Elementary are participating in Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's School Bottle Cap Collection Challenge. Looks like they even have a special collection container. Courtesy photo.

I've had a bag full of bottle caps for some time. I know the city doesn't take them for recycling in the blue bin (only No. 1 and No. 2) in Honolulu. So, honestly, I was hoping to recycle them somewhere convenient.

And now that opportunity is here, with the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's first Hawaii School Bottle Cap Collection Challenge. Visit kokuahawaiifoundation.org/bottlecapchallenge to find a list of participating schools.

Each participating school collects plastic bottle caps from the community and turns them in by March 31. Schools will submit a collection report online and also document the process with photos, videos and blogs.

The school that collects the most caps for recycling wins a special performance by musician Jack Johnson (the foundation’s co-founder).

The challenge, which started Feb. 1, is open to all Hawaii schools, from pre-school to high school. More than 50 schools, so far, are participating, mostly from Oahu, but also from Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. New schools are still welcome to register.

The foundation partnered with Method and Preserve to send the plastic caps to California, where they will be recycled into new products, including Method’s Ocean Plastic bottle and Preserve’s cutlery, plates and cups.

At Kokua’s beach cleanups over the year, volunteers have collected more than 25,000 pounds of waste, including thousands of discarded plastic bottle caps.

Can your cap be recycled?

The Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation has a collection guide. Look for the No. 5 inside the triangular recycling symbol, which stands for a rigid plastic called polypropylene.

These usually include caps that twist on to shampoo, water, soda, milk and other beverage bottles, as well as vitamin and medicine cap lids, the flip top caps on ketchup and mayonnaise, and peanut butter jar lids.

The recycling challenge is not accepting plastic pumps with metal springs, margarine tub lids or metal lids.

Happy recycling!

Recyclingcaps

 

The gray bin

February 26th, 2014
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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.

The green bin

February 25th, 2014
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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.

The blue bin

February 24th, 2014
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bluebin2

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.

 

The sorting line

February 23rd, 2014
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A recent visit to RRR Recycling at Campbell Industrial Park was really eye-opening.

It was exciting to see where all our curbside pickup recyclables go — and how they're sorted, baled and then shipped out to be remade into new products. I mean, this is truly recycling in action!

It's a large, dirty and noisy operation — and fast-paced. That conveyer belt goes pretty fast in the beginning. Workers are snatching out plastic bags and items that don't belong from left and right. I saw sneakers, phonebooks and hard-cover books go by (none belong in your blue bin).

Kudos to the 14 hard-working employees who sort this stuff seven days a week.

There are huge mountains of cardboard spilling on to the floor (I'm glad it gets recycled). Huge mounds of newspaper piled on a floor, and on the other side of the sorting line, piles of plastics, glass and aluminum.

The plastics are sorted by No. 1 and No. 2. Then the No. 2 plastics are sorted according to color or white because, apparently, once the color has been added in, the color can't be removed.

Recycling trucks collect the blue bins from more than 150 routes, bringing in an estimated 20,000 tons of recyclable materials a year. These recyclables actually bring the city and county of Honolulu $1.5 million in net revenue, according to Suzanne Jones, assistant chief for the refuse division.

But they could potentially bring in more, if people understood more of what can go in the blue bins.

People seem to understand newspapers go in there (yeah!) plus cardboard (only the corrugated kind). More plastics other than plastic water bottles and beverage containers (which some like to redeem for 5-cents apiece) can go in there, including plastic bottles for shampoo, body wash, vitamins and peanut butter. Glass jars. Milk containers. Wine bottles.

What's cool about all this is that recyclables are also diverted from our landfill.

"Back before the program started, if you really think about it, all of this was going to the landfill," said Manasseh Santos, who works on the sorting line. "With us recycling now, it'l save landfill space. It's a good thing all the way around."

To learn more, visit opala.org, which has 30-second video clips and pretty extensive information about recycling. Look out for my post about the blue bin tomorrow.

Newspapers baled and ready to be shipped to China for recycling.

Newspapers baled and ready to be shipped to China for recycling.

Double rates for rid-a-fridge

January 22nd, 2014
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RidaFridge_vFinal-Centered-Color

Still procrastinating on plans to get rid of your old fridge?

Hawaii Energy is giving you some motivation — it is now offering $50, double the $25 rebate originally offered for outdated, energy-hogging refrigerators and freezers.

Free curbside pick-up is available.

According to Hawaii Energy, fridges and freezers built prior to 1993 are energy hogs that cost two to three times more to operate than a new EnergyStar model. Taking those old units off the electric grid can save Oahu resident as much as $275 (based on current electricity rates) on the annual bill.

Residents can also donate the rebate to Hawaii Foodbank by simply checking a box on the application provided by the hauler at the time of refrigerator pick-up.

All Oahu residential electric utility customers are eligible. To qualify, fridges and freezers must be full-size and in working condition. Since Hawaii Energy launched its "Bounty Program" in August 2011, approximately 1,792 refrigerators and freezers have been recycled, keeping them out of landfills.

Community Recycling Day, Waimanalo

January 2nd, 2014
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  NaloBeach

Happy New Year!

Are you clearing out the house for a clean start to the New Year? Hui o Ko‘olaupoko and Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council are holding the fifth annual Waimanalo Community Clean-up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11 at Waimanalo Beach Park.

Mark it on your calendar, because it's a great one-stop shop for recycling.

You'll be able to recycle scrap metal (including appliances and propane tanks), regular size tires without rims, cell phones, computers, printer cartridges, batteries, paper, magazines, TVs and all types of plastic.

If there are Waimanalo residents who are unable to haul their recyclables to the park, then curbside pick-up can be arranged. The towing of unwanted vehicles in any condition is also available.

Hui o Ko‘olaupoko is also recruiting volunteers to help sort the recyclables or to form a "Street and Stream Clean-up Team" to pick up litter throughout the ahupua‘a.

"The annual clean-up provides community members a hands-on opportunity to care for the natural resources in the Waimanalo community, including the beauty of Waimanalo's back roads, streams, mountains and bays."

Last year's efforts brought in more than 15,000 pounds of scrap metal, 200 tires, three roll-off bins of trash and bulky items, six pallets of electronic waste, 1,000 pounds of paper and magazines and many more recyclable items.

Donations for Goodwill and the Hawaii Foodbank will also be accepted during the community cleanup.

To sign up as a volunteer, make an appointment for curbside pickup or towing, visit www.huihawaii.org or call Kristen Nalani Mailheau at 381-7202.

The Spirits of Recycling

December 23rd, 2013
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RecyclingCover

Happy Holidays!

When Christmas Day and other holiday events have come and gone,  do you know where to recycle all of your trash this year?

Your  kids may be able to tell you. Check out this adorable Coloring Activity Book, "The Spirits of Recycling: Kevin helps his family Sort it Out," by the city's Department of Environmental Services (printed on 100-percent post consumer recycled fiber paper, of course). The books are available inside Honolulu Hale as part of Honolulu City Lights, which is up until Dec. 31.

The book is adapted from the Honolulu Theatre for Youth production off "Christmas Talk Story" performed during their 2012 to 2013 Season of Classics. (You can print it out for free by clicking on this link). The cover pictured above has a little extra glitter on it, thanks to my son.

It tells the story of how the green, gray and blue bins pay a special visit to Kevin the night before Christmas. Last year, Kevin's dad took the tree to the landfill. "You didn't tell him to cut the tree and put it in me," the green bin tells Kevin. "You must spread the spirit of recycling!"

The Christmas tree can be chopped up and recycled in the green bin, the corrugated cardboard boxes, newspapers, No. 1 and 2 plastics, and glass bottles in the blue bin (as well as white and colored office paper). Trash, cereal boxes, junk mail and paper plates and napkins go in the gray, or trash, bin.

By the way, magazines and phonebooks, which the city's guide has going into the trash bin, can be recycled if you make a trip to Hagadone, 274 Puuhale Rd. (8 a.m. to noon on second Saturdays). And, of course, you can take your aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers for 5-cents each at Reynold's Recycling.

And it's a good idea to reduce  before you recycle. In my household this year, for instance, we made a rule that we are only going to reuse Christmas gift bags and boxes, ribbons and bows (we have a huge box) or reuse tin or lauhala boxes for gifts this year. You can also opt for regular, instead of disposable cups and plates.

Rewatch the performance at opala.org.

Sortit

Helping Vans Triple Crown Go Eco

November 19th, 2013
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Helping Triple Van Crown surfers and surf-goers recycle and tread responsibly on the ocean. Courtesy photo.

Helping Vans Triple Crown surfers and surf-goers recycle and tread responsibly on the ocean. Courtesy photo.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is collaborating with Vans Triple Crown of Surfing on Oahu's North Shore to make this year's series of professional surfing events more eco-friendly and environmentally responsible.

The non-profit built custom, recycling and compost stations which will be on hand daily while the surf contests are going on. Members will also talk-story with event-goers about the impacts of plastic on coastal pollution.

Sustainablesurf.org brought Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii on board as part of their strategy to certify the Vans Triple Crown as a Deep Blue Surfing Event, which is a trademarked label for events with a certain set of green guidelines that focus on reducing waste, energy, transportation and impacts on climate change while increasing community support.

SCHtriplecrownTriple Crown, now in its 39th year, brings surfers and spectators from throughout the world to Oahu's North Shore, continuing a rich, surfing heritage of progression, high-performance and power surfing.

Throughout Triple Crown contest events (which started Nov. 12 and run until Dec. 20), including the Reef Hawaiian Pro, Vans World Cup and Billabong Pro, members of SCH will maintain the recycling and composting stations with the goal of diverting 40 percent of trash from the landfill and H-Power.

The crew will also educate competitors, staff and spectators on ways to reduce their impacts on the coastlines by sharing tips on reducing plastic and the destructive impact of single-use plastics.

SCH is also helping to reduce transportation costs.

Recyclables will be donated to families on the North Shore, while food scraps will be composted.

"Partnering with the Vans Triple Crown to increase awareness of the detriments of our overconsumption of plastic is directly in line with our mission of inspiring coastal stewardship," said SCH executive director Kahi Pacarro. "We believe cleaning the beach starts at home, and by encouraging the reduction of waste we can also improve coast quality. Fewer items entering the waste stream equals fewer items able to wash ashore."

To learn more about Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, visit schawaii.org.

America Recycles Day - Jack Johnson, Twitter

November 15th, 2013
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ARD_IR_Logo_GreenandBlack_cmyk Nov. 15

Today (Friday, Nov. 15) is America Recycles Day.

Singer Jack Johnson and the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, in partnership with Schnitzer Steel Hawaii Corp., are hosting an Aloha Aina Recycling Drive at Sunset Beach Elementary School tomorrow on Saturday (Nov. 16.).

From 9 a.m. to noon, the drive (part of the Kokua Hawaii Foundation's 3R's School Recycling Program), will collect all types of scrap metal, including bicycles; computers and game systems; all types of batteries; newspaper; beverage bottles and corrugated cardboard; used cooking oil; clothing; printer cartridges; and used appliances.

Johnson will be on hand to assist with recycling collections. Sunset Beach Elementary School was the first to join Kokua's 3Rs recycling Program 10 years ago, when Johnson debuted his "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" song at a school assembly in the cafeteria.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is taking to Twitter in an effort to encourage dialogue on how to increase recycling rates. The hashtag for America Recycles Day will be #ScrapChat, as experts from the industry offer resources and information on how recycling works.

It will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern time (9 to 10 a.m. Hawaii time).

The discussion will cover topics, including how to get more people to recycle, the biggest challenges to recycling and tips on recycling and upcycling. Questions can also be sent to @ISRI.

Here in Hawaii, meanwhile, Recycle Hawaii is working with Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful and its local affiliates in Honolulu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii island to coordinate events that day.

Recycle-Bowl, a nationwide youth recycling competition from Oct. 21 to Nov. 15, is a great, interactive way for students to learn about waste reduction through in-school recycling. The competition is open to all elementary, middle and high schools, which track and report how much recyclable material they collect for a chance to win prizes. The school in each state that collects the most recyclable material per capital will win $1,000. Last year, that title went to Konawaena High School.

Visit www.americarecyclesday.org to learn more.

Konawaena High School won $1,000 last year for being the school with the highest recycling rate in the state. Photo by Renee Oba.

Konawaena High School won $1,000 last year for being the school with the highest recycling rate in the state. Photo by Renee Oba.