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EPA gives $492,600 to Hawaii Island Economic Development Board for reuse and recycling projects

Release Date: 07/19/2007
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov David Yogi, (415) 972-3653, yogi.david@epa.gov

HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $492,600 grant to the Hawai’i Island Economic Development Board to expand existing recycling and reuse projects on Hawaii Island.

“The management of solid waste is especially critical to an island state such as Hawaii,” said Steven Barhite, acting director of the waste management division for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region, “This new grant will build on the success of previous efforts and extend current programs—playing an essential role in reducing the amount of solid waste that goes to the landfills on Hawaii Island.”

The project establishes a model for renewable resource management on the island. This grant upgrades a solid waste transfer station into a community recycling center to divert resources from solid waste disposal. The effort will develop innovative solutions for collecting, reusing, and recycling products. In addition, educational outreach and results will be measured and reported.

The goals of the project are to:

* stimulate on-island reuse, composting, and recycling;
* create jobs and income for island residents;
* comply with the state’s waste management goals;
* reduce the county’s overall solid waste management costs; and
* create partnerships with businesses to increase the amount of recovered materials.

The current grant builds on successful efforts to improve reuse and recycling in West Hawaii and at Kea’au in East Hawaii.

To date, the centers have recycled or mulched nearly 1,300 tons of resources and made possible the reuse of 122 tons of resources. The effort has conserved over 28,000 million BTUs of energy – the equivalent of removing 415 cars from the road each year or not using 226,000 gallons of gasoline each year. Hawaii Island has achieved a 69 percent recycling rate for beverage containers, the highest in the state.

Both locations recycle aluminum, office paper, magazines, plastics, cardboard, mixed paper, inkjet and toner cartridges, newspaper, #1 and #2 plastics and glass. The West Hawaii location also houses a redemption center for the implementation of the state bottle bill.

The Hawai’i Island Economic Development Board and County of Hawaii have received more than $1.5 million in four EPA Congressional appropriation grants to develop model reuse and recycling capacity to serve the island’s rural communities.
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