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Hawaii Residents Recommend Ideas For Better Waste Management

big island landfill
Ryan Finnerty/HPR

HILO — The Solid Waste Advisory Committee in Hawaii has proposed a plan that includes 82 waste management recommendations covering nine programs.

The committee also heard recommendations at a public hearing in Hilo Tuesday, West Hawaii Today reported Wednesday.

The committee made recommendations including to conduct public awareness campaigns, regularly review the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill contract and conduct more household hazardous waste collection events, officials said.

Some residents also made recommendations to the committee.

"The key approach to landfill reduction is public education," said Melody Euaparadorn of Zero Waste Big Island. "An educated and engaged public can become part of a solution to manage our waste management program."

The committee should enact a disposal fee on all purchased products at the point of purchase, an environmental impact fee on tourists and negotiations for an end date with Waste Management Inc., which operates the West Hawaii landfill, members of The Sierra Club, Hawaii Island Group said.

"Many of the recommendations were excellent," said Cory Harden, speaking on behalf of the local Sierra Club.

Kristine Kubat of Recycle Hawaii was less optimistic.

"We are very disappointed that this plan used waste composition studies from 2001 and 2008," Kubat said. "If you're really focused on zero waste, which we are, you'll find the 2008 composition study virtually useless."

The county should continue using taxpayer dollars to support solid waste programs, rather than expect the programs to be able to pay for themselves in the short-term, committee members said.

The next public hearing is set for Thursday, officials said.

The public can submit written comments through Feb. 4.

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