Maui County is way behind the times on recycling

A couple of years ago, I was disappointed when Maui County chose to invest in an automated waste pickup system that uses a single trash can with only one destination – the landfill. I felt at the time that the time and labor saved by using the mechanical arm could be reinvested into a system of curbside recycling.

Recent visits to San Francisco and Portland have only increased my sense that Maui County is way behind the times.

Both of these cities have curbside recycling. Residents aren’t required to sort their recyclables, but can put them all in one bin. There is a second bin for yard clippings and kitchen waste, a third bin for the remaining trash. Residents benefit from the labor savings. The city benefits from the redemption money, the compost and the lower volume of trash taken to the landfill.

In Portland, in order to encourage composting and recycling, the trash bin is the smallest of the three bins and is picked up only once every two weeks, as opposed to once-a-week pickups for the other two bins.

Compare this to Maui’s twice-a-week pickup of our massive bins. The message is clear – throw everything out and forget about where it’s going.

Every few weeks, I go to the recycling center and see Maui residents wrestling with our system of sorting recyclables into eight different categories. Many of us understand and care about the issue of managing our waste.

When will the county catch up?

Alan Hodara