HAPPY NEW YEAR! Significant changes are afoot that will affect Recycle Hawai‘i’s mission and direction in the coming years both locally and nationally following the tumultuous elections this past November.
Congratulations are in order regarding the return of Mayor Harry Kim, whose previous administration brought about the formation of the County of Hawai‘i Department of Environmental Management (DEM). Welcome and bonne chance (success) to the newly elected District 4 Council Member, Eileen O’Hara, Ph.D., former Executive Director of Recycle Hawai‘i (2002-2003) and the first Recycling Coordinator for the DEM (2003-2006). Eileen serves as Chair of the Committee on Environmental Management, Vice Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability, and Vice Chair of the Committee on Planning. Best wishes to former DEM Director, Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd on her retirement, and a warm welcome to the newly confirmed Director of DEM, Bill Kucharski, who holds a Master’s Degree in Civil and Chemical Engineering. The RH staff and Board bids a fond farewell to Linda Peters, DEM County Recycling Coordinator, with whom it has been a pleasure to work with this past decade. Linda recently moved to be with family in the Pacific Northwest.
Going forward, Recycle Hawai‘i is now poised to respond to an imminent Request for Proposal from DEM to continue to manage the five existing Recycling/Reuse Centers at Kea‘au, Keauhou, Kealakehe, Pāhoa and Waimea County Transfer Stations plus the recently announced facility to be built at the Hilo Transfer Station. Our current contract, which ends on January 31, 2017, is scheduled to be extended up to 90 days beyond, pending the release of the next competitive bid process. Although the current contract included our managing of the new site at the Hilo Transfer Station, shifting priorities by DEM over the past three years have delayed necessary site improvements and delayed its opening.
After nearly two decades of developing and managing the Do-It-Yourself Used Motor Oil (DIY-UMO) Program for the island’s hundreds of shade tree mechanics who maintain their own vehicles, Recycle Hawai‘i will no longer be in charge of the program. It was the consensus of the RH Board that certain stipulations inherent in a newly designed “invitation to bid” by DEM included risks that the organization is unwilling to take at this time. How the program will be managed going forward remains to be seen.
Having spent the holidays these past few weeks “down under,” I managed to visit a rural transfer station along the Great Ocean Road in the south of Australia. It was no surprise to me to find that, as in many mainland and European municipalities I have visited, the local government there provides for the proper disposal of used motor oil among the many recyclables that can be dropped off at no charge to their residents.
It’s time that Hawai‘i County DEM secure the necessary Department of Health permits to provide the same level of convenience at our transfer stations that Kaua‘i County residents enjoy as well as the many, many communities across the globe that provide for proper disposal of UMO which has the potential to foul our water table and coastal areas.
Best wishes for good health and sustainability to our members, directors and hard-working staff in this New Year of 2017!
PHOTO CAPTION: Sign for Port Campbell Transfer Station which is located in Victoria, Australia. Municipal, commercial and industrial waste accepted for recycling at no charge includes used motor oil and car batteries as well as steel, plastic, paper and garden organics.
Photo by Paul J. Buklarewicz
Get the Drift and Bag It! (GTDBI) is Hawai‘i’s contribution to the annual International Coastal Cleanup, which is a worldwide campaign by Ocean Conservancy. On Hawai‘i Island, coordination of GTDBI was done for many years by Terry Miura, recently retired County of Hawai‘i Parks and Recreation Aquatics Specialist. For 2016 GTDBI cleanups, coordination was handed over to Recycle Hawai‘i and Keep Hawai‘i Beautiful, who wishes to thank a total of 411 volunteers who removed 5,250 pounds of rubbish and marine debris from 26 miles of our beautiful coastlines. Due to Aunty Terry’s outstanding leadership over the years, a number of dedicated volunteer groups were well trained and ready to make a difference. We congratulate them for their commitment to making our ocean and island home a better place for all.
Big Island Stevedores, Hilo
Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy’s Grades 4th, 5th & 7th
Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund
Jack’s Dive Locker
Keep Puako Beautiful
Rotary Club of Hilo with Waiakea High Interact Club
St. Joseph School
Waiakea High Key Club
To view an interactive world map of all the different cleanups and their data please visit http://www.coastalcleanupdata.org
PHOTO CAPTION: Poster for International Coastal Cleanup.
Photo by Victoria Haili
Recycle Hawai‘i is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization serving the people of Hawai‘i. Our mission is to promote resource awareness and recycling enterprises in Hawai‘i. To achieve this, we educate the community about sound resource management and recycling opportunities for a more environmentally sustainable future.