Honolulu County must provide curbside recycling to all residents. Carts are used to collect yard waste and mixed recyclables. Businesses are required to recycle certain materials based on their business type.
Honolulu County residents receive a green cart for yard trimmings and a blue cart for recycling mixed paper and containers. As of 2012, more than 160,000 single-family homes were in the program. The remaining 20,000 households were not able to be serviced by automated trucks and will be rolled into a semi-automated system.
In the green carts, the county collects grass, tree and hedge trimmings, and Christmas trees. Food waste may be added in a second phase. Mixed recyclables include white and colored office paper, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles coded #1 and #2.
The county also requires businesses to recycle certain materials based on their business type, including glass containers at liquor-serving establishments, office paper at office buildings, and food waste from food generators. City agencies must also recycle printed paper and containers.
County recycling specialists inspect green and blue carts for compliance and tag containers to educate residents if materials are not sorted properly. The team also tracks the quantity of materials collected and overall quality.
The public works director can adopt rules for implementation, administration and enforcement of a recycling program, may contract with a private entity to sort recyclable materials, and may establish incentive programs to encourage island-wide recycling.
The county is capturing 77% of its green waste from residents but only 52% of recyclables. By increasing the recovery of recyclables from households to 75%, the county could raise an additional $500,000 in revenue from the sale of materials and decreasing waste to landfills.