Posted by: opala808 | September 14, 2016

Upcoming Events and Next Issue

Tour de Trash – September 17 for teachers and October 17 for general public. Sorry, all seats are booked. Watch for announcement in WasteLine early next year for 2017 tour schedule and registration. See online virtual tour.

Next Household Hazardous Waste drop-off event scheduled for November 5.  Call 768-3201 to schedule an appointment by Friday, October 28.

Businesses are doing well with compliance with mandatory recycling and plastic bag ban. Update in next issue.

Honolulu Theatre for Youth will be launching its next season of shows to include recycling education components in both their stage show and the special Sort It Out traveling show.  Watch for show dates and reservation information in the next issue.

Posted by: opala808 | April 18, 2016

Curbside Recycling Hits Recovery Milestone

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!!

Blue carts 020The 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!

Baling Plastic

Posted by: opala808 | April 18, 2016

Mauka to Makai 2016

Bring the whole family down to the Waikiki Aquarium on Saturday, April 23 for the popular (and FREE!) 9th annual Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo from 9 am to 2 pm.  Test your knowledge on our Wheel of Recycling and win prizes made from recycled materials at the City’s Opala booth.  While you’re there, pick up the ‘Where do things go?’ recycling activity book and other fun and helpful brochures and stickers.  Additionally, there are dozens of other exhibitors offering a variety of hands-on activities and informational displays that cover a wide range of environmental topics.  Event goers will be entertained by The Journey Home puppet show, as well as keiki ukulele and hula performances.  Last year, over 3,000 people joined in on the fun and learned how they can help contribute to a clean and healthy environment. Mauka to Makai

This annual event is hosted by the City’s Storm Water Quality Branch and the Waikiki Aquarium.  Free parking and shuttles will be available at Waikiki Elementary School beginning at 8:45 am.  For more information, visit

If you can’t make it to the event, or simply can’t wait to get your hands on our educational materials, check out and click on the Media Library to download a copy.

Posted by: opala808 | February 29, 2016

Tour de Trash 2016

28The City’s extremely popular Tour de Trash tour series is back for an 18th year!  Tour de Trash gives participants an up-close and personal look at some of the City’s dynamic recycling and solid waste management programs.  Back on this year’s schedule is the Green Business Recycling tour, which showcases the Reduce, Reuse and Recycling efforts of some of Oahu’s most environmentally conscious businesses.

Sign up quickly – seats go fast!

Register by phone: 768-3200

Choose from the four scheduled tours below.

Tour 1: Recyclers and Waste Processors

Date: Tuesday, April 19

Time: 8:30 – 1:00

Start-Finish: Kapolei Hale

The Recyclers and Waste Processors Tour visits the City’s HPOWER waste-to-energy facility, where all of Oahu’s trash is incinerated to generate electricity.  HPOWER’s capable of processing up to one million tons of trash per year and providing Oahu with up to 10% of its electricity needs; that’s enough electricity to power 60,000 homes.  The tour also stops at the 100+ acre Hawaiian Earth Recycling (HER) facility in Wahiawa, where the City’s green waste is recycled into mulch and compost.  Hear about the science behind the compost process; see the long open-air windrows of compost and get a peek at HER’s new advanced irrigation system in action.  At RRR Recycling Services participants will be able to walk the elevated sort line to see how nearly 25,000 tons of recyclables from the City’s curbside blue cart program are sorted into individual material types and processed for recycling.  And at the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill tour goers will get to see and learn about the environmental protections employed by today’s modern landfill, including its complex liner, leachate catchment and methane recovery systems.

Tour 2: Wastewater Management

Date: Wednesday, June 29

Time: 8:30 – 12:30

Start-Finish: Kapolei Hale

On the Wastewater Management Tour you’ll find out what happens to the water you wash down the drain and flush down the toilet.  The tour visits the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant, where 25 million gallons of sewage per day are treated through screens, filters, and clarifiers which clean and separate liquids from solids.  The tour then travels to the Honouliuli Water Reclamation Facility, where the Board of Water Supply further processes the wastewater into cleaner water, which can be used for irrigation.  Collection System Maintenance will also provide a cool demonstration of how sewer pipes are serviced and maintained using a robotic Closed-Circuit TV camera and a Vactor truck.

Tour 3: Recyclers and Waste Processors

Date: Saturday, September 17

Time: 8:30 – 1:00

Start-Finish: Kapolei Hale

Same tour as Tour 1, except that it’s conveniently offered on a Saturday to make it easy for teachers and students to attend.  Others are welcome to join, however preference will be given to educators.

At the conclusion of the tour, buses will return to Kapolei Hale where City recycling staff will be available for discussion about the tour and City recycling programs, and presentation of the City’s recycling educational resources, including videos, student activity books and performance workshops for schools.

Tour 4: Green Business Recycling

Date: Monday, October 17

Time: 8:30 – 12:30

Start-Finish: The Hawaii Convention Center

 On the Green Business tour you’ll get an up-close look at the Hawaii Convention Center’s exemplary mixed recyclables, food waste and green waste recycling programs.  Staff at the Sheraton Waikiki will guide participants on a walk-through of the hotel’s mixed recyclables and food waste recycling programs, as well as discuss the hotel’s reuse initiatives which donate partially used soaps, shampoos and even hotel furniture.  Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant will showcase its kitchen recycling efforts and how it effectively captures its food waste, which is recycled into animal feed, and its used cooking oil, which is converted into bio-diesel.  You’ll also get to see Whole Food’s (Kahala) recycling program, as well as hear about other sustainability initiatives, such as the store’s use of recycled paper and packaging, and energy and water efficient amenities.

Businesses participating in this tour have received the Green Business Award from the Hawaii State Energy Office Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.  Learn more about these recognized businesses in Hawaii by visiting the Hawaii Green Business Awardees page.

Click here for more information about the City’s Tour de Trash program and to take a virtual tour online.

Additional Tour Information: Tour participation is free.  Space is limited and reservations are made on a first-come basis.  Please consider your reservation a binding agreement to attend.  A no-show is a seat we could have given to another participant.  Tour includes round trip site-to-site transportation.  Tour does not include lunch or refreshments.  Please feel free to bring snacks and/or water.

Keep in mind that the Tour de Trash is designed to give participants a behind-the-scenes look at some of Oahu’s largest and most dynamic recycling and waste processing facilities. Some of the tours have participants climbing several flights of stairs, walking through narrow corridors and standing outside for extended periods of time. Please inquire with City Recycling Branch staff about the amount of physical activity involved in each tour.

For tours 1, 2 and 3 please arrive at the start location 15-20 minutes prior to departure.   Parking is free at Kapolei Hale.  For Tour 4 please arrive at the start location 30 minutes before departure time.  Parking will be validated at the Hawaii Convention Center.  Tour buses depart promptly in the morning on schedule; tour end times are approximate. Tour sites are subject to change.  Call 768-3200 to register.  Must be 12 years-old to attend.  Under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Posted by: opala808 | December 10, 2015

Minions “All Aboard!” with Recycling

ENV tree 2015 (2)Come down to Honolulu Hale and check out the Department of Environmental Services’ entry into this year’s Honolulu City Lights!  This year’s tree, themed “Minions at Work”, was created by the Department’s Collection System Maintenance Division and features a “train” theme, complete with railroad cars and Minion train conductors.  The Minion ornaments and other decorations are all made from reused or recycled items, showcasing the Department’s commitment to sustainability and to fostering a clean environment. Spirits of Recycling Cover

While you’re there, pick up a FREE “The Spirits of Recycling” Christmas coloring activity book from one of the book stands by the tree.  This keiki holiday classic tells a somewhat different  story of the night before Christmas, when Kevin is visited by the ghosts of recycling past, present and future; and is full of trash tips, fun and educational activities that are sure to help you sort it out for the holidays.

Posted by: opala808 | December 9, 2015

Holiday Trash Tips


People typically produce a larger and more diverse amount of trash and recyclables during the holidays.  (Think of all the food, drink, presents and Christmas trees!)  For helpful hints on how to manage your Christmas opala, check out our Holiday Trash Tips at  Information on Holiday collection schedules is available along with all the options for recycling your Christmas tree.

And don’t forget! You can visit all year ‘round to find out everything you need to know about trash and recycling.

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