Posted by: opala808 | May 17, 2017

10th Annual Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo

Along with a record 4,000 participants, the City’s Recycling Branch had a great time celebrating Earth Day 2017 at the 10th annual Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo at the Waikiki Aquarium. Hosted by the City’s Stormwater Quality Branch, the fun-filled Expo included on-stage entertainment from multicultural performance artists and dancers, a Mullet fish  release and a native plant giveaway.  Government groups, environmental organizations, businesses and non-profits hosted booths with a variety of interactive educational displays.  At the Recycling booth, attendees spun the Wheel of Recycling and answered blue cart trivia questions to earn recycled pens or pencils. They also took home the ‘Where do things go?’ and Opala IQ recycling activity books, educational brochures and stickers.  Download your own copies of our activity books and informational materials at in the Media Library.  We hope to see you at next year’s Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo!

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Posted by: opala808 | March 1, 2017

Tour de Trash 2017

The City’s ever-popular Tour de Trash tour series is back for its 19th year!  This year’s tour line-up features two tour dates for recycling and waste processors, a tour of some of the City’s wastewater treatment facilities and a tour of “green” businesses with a commitment to sustainable waste management practices.

Tour de Trash gives participants an up-close and personal look at some of the City’s dynamic recycling and solid waste management programs.  Register by phone: 768-3200.  Sign up quickly – seats go fast!

Choose from the four scheduled tours below.

Tour 1: Recyclers and Waste Processors

Date: Tuesday, April 18

Time: 8:30 – 1:00

Start-Finish: Kapolei Hale

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Recyclers and Waste Processors tour visits the City’s H-POWER waste-to-energy facility, where Oahu’s trash is burnt to generate electricity.  H-POWER is capable of processing up to one million tons of trash per year and providing Oahu with up to 10% of its electricity needs – 70 megawatts of power, 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.  AT HER, hear about the science behind the compost process and see each step in that process, from mulching to open air windrow management to compost screening and production.  At RRR Recycling Services participants get to tour an 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: Thursday, July 27, 2017

Time: 8:30 – 12:30

Start-Finish: Kapolei Hale


On the Wastewater Management Tour participants will find out what happens to the water that’s washed down the drain and flushed 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 live on-site demonstration of how sewer pipes are serviced and maintained using a robotic Closed-Circuit TV camera and a Vactor truck.

Tour 3: Green Business Recycling

Date: Thursday, August 31

Time: 8:30 – 1:30

Start-Finish: The Hawaii Convention Center

On the Green Business tour participants will get a behind the scenes look at the Hawaii Convention Center’s exemplary mixed material, food waste and green waste recycling programs.  Staff at the Sheraton Waikiki will guide participants on a walk-through of the hotel’s glass, paper and food waste recycling programs, as well as discuss their energy efficiency programs and reuse of materials throughout the hotel­­­.  Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant will showcase its kitchen recycling efforts and how it effectively captures food waste, which is recycled into animal feed, and used cooking oil, which is converted into bio-diesel.  Participants will also get to glimpse Whole Food’s recycling programs and hear about other sustainability initiatives, such as the store’s food donations, use of reusable shipping containers and packaging, and energy and water efficiency measures.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 by visiting the Hawaii Green Business Awardees Page.


Tour 4: Recyclers and Waste Processors

Date: Saturday, September 16

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 those in the K-12 school system.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the conclusion of the tour, buses will return to Kapolei Hale where City recycling staff will be available for questions about the tour and discussion on the City’s solid waste management and associated educational programs.  Staff will have several of the City’s recycling educational resources available for distribution, including student activity books and recycling reminder stickers.

Additional Tour Information: Must be 12 years old to attend.  Under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.  Tour, including site-to-site transportation, 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 does not include lunch or refreshments.  Please bring water and/or snacks.

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.  The sites may be dusty and dirty.  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 4 please arrive at Kapolei Hale 15-20 minutes prior to departure.   Parking is free in the public lot or on the street.   For tour 3, please arrive at the Hawaii Convention Center 30 minutes before departure time.  Parking will be validated.  All 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.

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

Posted by: opala808 | March 1, 2017

H-POWER Converts Old Phonebooks to Electricity

Outdated phonebooks should be disposed in the gray cart or with regular refuse.  A phonebook’s binding and its composition of low-grade, low-value paper limits its recyclability.  But fear not, all of those old phonebooks are being put to good use at H-POWER, where, along with the rest of Oahu’s refuse, they will be converted into electricity.  In fact, one phonebook from every Oahu residence and business at H-POWER can power about 600 homes for a whole month!

Recycling and waste-to-energy are side-by-side, complimentary programs that help ensure that our rubbish is never wasted and never ends up in landfills.  The City targets higher quality materials that have sustainable markets in Hawaii for recycling and sends the lower grade material to waste-to-energy.  Of the roughly 1.2 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generated on Oahu every year, about 60% is processed locally at H-POWER where it is converted into electricity while most of the rest is recycled into new products.

For more information on proper phonebook disposal, check out the Hawaiian Telcom infographic.  Also, visit for all your recycling and disposal information.  Reduce your waste through phonebook opt-out and electronic options by visiting the Reduce and Reuse page.­­

Posted by: opala808 | November 21, 2016

Recycling Education Stage Shows

The City’s Educational Partnership with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth Continues.

A Plantation Celebration November 25-December 17, 2016 at the Tenney Theatre

Sort It Out February, 2017 traveling show.

The City’s Department of Environmental Services and the Honolulu Theatre for Youth are partnering for a sixth consecutive year to educate Oahu’s youth on the importance of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling. HTY’s theatre performances and school touring Sort It Out performance workshops are seen by a whopping 20,000 students, families and teachers annually.

A Plantation Celebration November 25-December 17

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Take your class on a field trip to see a performance of HTY’s “A Plantation Celebration”.  A Plantation Celebration is a collection of original scenes, stories and classic songs about life on a historic Hawaiian plantation.  Although it was tough at times, plantation life instilled in our kupuna many of the ethics, values and traditions that make Hawaii the very special place it is today.  A Plantation Celebration showcases many of Hawaii’s time-honored customs for today’s younger generation.

Key themes throughout A Plantation Celebration are reducing and reusing materials found around the plantation and at workers’ homes.  Repurposing leftover materials into something useful was a common practice in plantation times when money was often tight.  Because families had so little to begin with, materials were rarely thrown away without being reused at least once or twice.

Everyone attending the performances will receive a fun activity flier that includes two reuse craft ideas to turn waste materials into useful items.

Contact HTY School Reservations Manager, Stu Hirayama, at 839-9885 x 701 or  More information at

Sort It Out February 2017

PrintBook the FREE “Sort It Out” traveling recycling performance workshop for your school.  This 60-minute fun-filled and highly interactive show includes songs, games and skits to educate students on the “how to’s” and importance of correctly sorting their trash and recyclables in our island community.  Everything that is thrown away on Oahu goes on to live another “life”; recyclables and green waste are made into new products and trash is burned to generate electricity.  Nothing is wasted.  Participating schools will receive recycling educational materials to use in the classroom.  Please reserve early because shows are limited!

Contact HTY School Reservations Manager, Stu Hirayama, at 839-9885 x 701 or  More information at

Posted by: opala808 | November 21, 2016

Trash Tips for a Green Holiday Season


More refuse is produced during the holiday season than any other time of the year.  Presents leave us with mountains of boxes and wrapping paper, while holiday parties can generate enormous amounts of cans, bottles and jars; not to mention all of those Christmas trees.  Holiday Trash Tips and information on holiday collection schedules are posted online at

Posted by: opala808 | September 14, 2016

Honolulu Wins City Livability and Gold Excellence Awards

The City & County of Honolulu was honored with two prestigious awards this summer in recognition of H-POWER’s commitment to sustainable solid waste disposal.  Honolulu received the 2016 City Livability Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and, for the second time in three years, Honolulu’s waste-to-energy facility, H-POWER, won the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Gold Excellence Award in the waste-to-energy category.  Honolulu’s H-POWER facility successfully combines refuse-derived fuel and mass burn technologies – an achievement that has put it at the forefront of waste-to-energy innovation.


In a statement, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell commended H-POWER’s commitment to meeting Oahu’s waste management and energy needs.  “With the addition of a third boiler and a sludge intake facility at our nation-leading waste-to-energy plant, we are now diverting nearly 80 percent of our municipal waste stream from Oahu’s only landfill, and making great strides toward Hawaii’s ambitious goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Awards Program recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities.  Click here to view the City Livability Award Video.

The (SWANA) Waste-to-Energy Gold Award recognizes excellence in the design, management and operations of projects that produce renewable energy from solid waste, whether through direct combustion or through other methods.  Click here to view the 2016 Excellence Award Entry.

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