Public Invited to Learn About Updated Waste Management Plan – Big Island Now

The public is invited to learn more about the updated draft to Hawaii County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan.

Every 10 years, the County of Hawaiʻi Solid Waste Division is required to update its Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (ISWMP or the Plan). The updated plan will show on where the county was 10 years ago, where it is now, and where it wants to go in regards to waste management and waste reduction practices.

The updated plan will be available for the public to view on Dec. 6 at www.HawaiiZeroWaste.org. After it’s been posted, county has scheduled two informational meetings where a presentation will be given and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions.

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The current planning cycle began in May of 2018, with the Solid Waste Advisory Committee holding monthly meetings, which were open to the public. The draft was completed in August, in the interim to the upcoming informational hearings, recycling protocols changed globally.

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In October, Hawai‘i County announced it was rolling back recyclable items it would accept at island transfer stations. The decision was spurred on by significant decreases in global recycling markets.

“Because of the recycling issues, there is more interest in waste management,” said Sanne Berrig, recycling specialist with the county. “Our division still wants to recycle and create recycling opportunities. If people want to recycle, they feel like they’re doing something.”

The county has its two-bin system in place where transfer stations accept container glass, cardboard and brown paper bags. Berrig said the HI5 program is still entirely intact.

As the division looks toward the future, Berrig said there are plans to construct of a compost facility for organic materials.

“Keeping organics out of landfills is an important issue,” she said.

The public comment period will be open for 60 days, from Dec. 6 through Feb. 4, 2020.

“We really want to engage people, but can’t do it during a public hearing,” Berrig said, adding the function of a public hearing doesn’t allow for questions.

Written testimony will be accepted throughout the entire public comment period, and oral testimony will be taken at public hearings, which will be held on Jan. 21 and 23, 2020. Details for the public hearings will be announced at a later date.

The first informational meeting for the updated waste management plan will take place on Dec. 9 at the NELHA Gateway Visitors Center, located at 73-4460 Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway, Suite 125. The meeting with run from 5-7 p.m.

The second informational meeting will take place in Hilo on Dec. 11. The meeting will be located at Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 1. The meeting will run from 5-7 p.m.

No testimony will be taken during these informational sessions.

The draft Plan will be available to the public on the Division’s website on Dec. 6 at www.HawaiiZeroWaste.org.