In a completely fitting Earth Month coincidence, as of April 2016 the City’s curbside “blue cart” program has recycled 150,000 tons of cardboard, newspaper, plastic, glass and metal containers since its inception in 2009. That’s the weight of 667 Statues of Liberty, or about 74 space shuttles!!
The City’s curbside recycling program began in October 2007 with a pilot program in Mililani and Hawaii Kai. Following the pilot, islandwide expansion to 160,000 single family homes began in 2009 and was completed in 2010. Since 2009, the curbside recycling program has seen steady 2-4 percent annual increases in recovery. For the current fiscal year, the program is projected to recover close to 24,000 tons of material – an increase of more than 5 percent from the previous year’s tonnage. What’s more, the curbside program has also enjoyed comparatively low contamination (non-acceptable material) rates, averaging between 10 and 11 percent since the start, which is great for a program that’s still relatively young.
The curbside recycling program has and will continue to play a pivotal role in helping the City to achieve its goal of diverting as much material from the landfill as possible. The recyclables that the City collects in its blue cart program are a valuable resource; they are sent to facilities where they are processed into feedstock that’s used to make new products. Using recyclable materials in the manufacturing process helps to conserve natural resources and reduce energy consumption. Keep up the good work, Oahu!