AP Photo/Caleb Jones

More than a million tons a year of America's plastic trash isn't ending up where it should. The equivalent of as many as 1,300 plastic grocery bags per person is landing in places such as oceans and roadways, according to a new study of U.S. plastic trash.

County of Kaua'i

Kauaʻi's rural landscape and small-town charm are characteristics residents here enjoy and strive to protect. But small-island living also means limited space and fewer options. As garbage continues to pile up at the island’s only landfill, Kauaʻi is looking to turn its small size into its biggest advantage. 

Ryan Finnerty

Hawaii Island is in the enviable position of having a landfill with anywhere from 20 to 100 years of capacity left to take in trash. But the island still wrestles with significant issues like plastic products that are no longer being recycled.  

good free photos

Maui Trash; Repairs Set For Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Hawaii Homelessness Compared To Mainland; Face of Charity: Carole Kai; Private Investigator Steve Goodenow


Oahu trash update; Teaching astronomy with today's technology; Honolulu's Building Permit Woes; Land preservation in Kau on the Big Island


Trash Series; Sterile Trees; Cyber Espionage Could Benefit Hawaii's Economy; Water Conservation; 'Iolani Grad Named To Forbes 30 Under 30

Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson / U.S. Air Force

Britain is about to take back more than three-dozen container loads of plastic trash from Malaysia. It’s the latest case of a Southeast Asian nation sending garbage back to where it came from.


Starting Wednesday, Hawaii County will no longer accept some traditionally recyclable materials at its collection sites. The change comes as global market forces roil the recycling industry.

Casey Harlow / HPR

Honolulu is updating a pilot program to improve the collection of bulky trash items that have been piling up in neighborhoods since new rules took effect, officials said.

Andy Arthur / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

One of the world’s most ambitious recycling programs is getting underway in Australia. A new government policy aims to cut the export of plastic waste and at the same time boost local business.

Marco Verch / CC BY 2.0 /

There’s a new trend underway in many developing countries across the Asia Pacific. It’s about shipping — but with an unusual twist.

Senior Master Sgt. Burke Baker / U.S. Air Force

Plastic is a growing problem for ocean waters — not only in Hawaii but around the world. And new research this week from an Asian island nation shows part of that challenge involves the travel and tourism industry.

Constantine Agustin / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

The Philippines has recalled its ambassador and all its consuls from Canada. The diplomatic flare-up doesn’t concern international politics — it’s based on a dispute over garbage.

Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson / U.S. Air Force
Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson / U.S. Air Force

There has been news this week about the continuing trade talks between the United States and China. Meetings in Beijing were extended for several days, and further details are likely to emerge in coming days. Meanwhile, it’s been a busy week for a different kind of trade development elsewhere in Asia.

Keesler Air Force Base

Recycling is a practice that helps the environment, but it’s also a business.  That business has become more complicated in recent months, especially for residents of Hawaii.

Jakob Montrasio / Flickr

China is changing its recycling policy, and the impacts are being felt all around the world. That includes Hawai‘i because some shipments of recycled material that used to go to China will no longer be accepted. But China’s new policy is already having an immediate effect in a number of places—including Australia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

U.S. Air Force

Continuing Resolutions and Military Readiness; H-Power Waste Ash; Paratransit Emergency Planning; Local Disney Writer

Closing the Hilo Landfill

Oct 27, 2017
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Waste disposal is a challenge for residents of any island. On Hawai‘i Island, county officials have been talking about the potential closure of the Hilo Landfill for more than three decades. Now, county officials say the closure will happen—and this time there’s a definite timeline. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken has an update.

The Conversation: Friday, April 15th, 2016

Apr 15, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

State Education Budget; Art from Trash; Hula Honeys

What’s in the Education Budget: Jim Shon

noe tanigawa



For the past week, HPR has been looking at the issues Hawai‘i faces around solid waste. We’ve looked at the proliferation of plastic, the possibility of pollution from particles smaller than we now measure, and the struggles of each county to reduce mounting “waste” in landfills.  Over the past 20 years, a movement has been building around a mind shift—HPR’s Noe Tanigawa found that waste could translate into resources.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

  Many people in Hawaii take part in periodic beach cleanups around the islands. And hikers are generally careful to pick up after themselves. But that’s not the case for one of Asia’s most famous peaks and the local government is trying something new to change it. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Hawaii County to Tackle Its Trash

Feb 6, 2014
Flickr / Phillip Stewart
Flickr / Phillip Stewart

  Hawaii County has a trash problem.  And it's not a new one.  For decades, County officials have delayed finding a long term solution to dealing with Hawaii County's 300 tons of trash a day.  Now, that may be starting to change.  HPR's Sherry Bracken has the story.

Kona Triathlon Does its Part to Take out the Trash

Jul 29, 2013

Sunday morning, it was still the calm before the storm on the Big Island. In Kona, a group of athletes took advantage of the beautiful weather to be fit, and to make the island more fit. From Kona, HPR's Sherry Bracken tells us more.

Flickr / sheilaz413
Flickr / sheilaz413

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said earlier this spring that he does not believe Oahu needs another landfill. The mayor hopes technological advances, including a new H-POWER plant will eliminate the need to add anything beyond the Waimanalo Gulch landfill. But in Hong Kong, waste is a very different story. And Bill Dorman has it in today’s Asia Minute.