How To Get There > Zero Waste goals & plans > Zero Waste Resolution: Hawai’i County, Hawai’i, USA

Zero Waste Resolution: Hawai’i County, Hawai’i, USA

Hawai'i County, Hawaii

Hawai’i County passed a resolution to adopt the philosophy of Zero Waste and incorporate those principles into its Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan. A Zero Waste Implementation Plan was created.

Action(s) Taken

  • Zero Waste goals & plans



Year Enacted



In 2003, Hawai‘i targeted 50% diversion by 2008 and 80% by 2013, but the county had only hit 36% diversion by 2011. Most residents and businesses self-haul their discards to landfills or transfer stations where materials can be separated for recycling. The county was running out of space at its landfills and was shipping recycled materials off the island for processing.


Hawai’i County’s Zero Waste philosophy promotes the highest and best use of materials to eliminate waste and pollution. The philosophy emphasizes a closed-loop system of production and consumption regarding solid waste management.

The County resolved to incorporate this Zero Waste philosophy into its Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan. Hawai’i recognized Zero Waste as a strategy to reach its over-arching goal of each generation leaving a reduced ecological footprint on the earth.

In 2009 a Zero Waste Implementation Plan was produced for the county with a focus on using recycling to help economic sustainability. Recovered materials could be kept in productive use on the island and used to create jobs and local wealth instead of being shipped off island and replaced with new imports.

The plan estimated more than 500 jobs would be created by achieving an 80% recycling rate and nearly $11 million in lost revenues was buried each year in Hawai’i’s landfills. The plan called for:

  • Redesigning landfills and transfer stations into Resource Recovery Parks with recycling processing facilities and stores to sell reusable materials.
  • Extensive public education and training programs.
  • A ban on organic materials in the landfill and the use of composted organics to support local agriculture.
  • Construction and demolition recycling requirements.
  • A requirement for all trash haulers to provide recycling services.
  • Drop-off bins for yard debris at transfer stations.
  • Take-back programs for retailers and manufacturers to accept hard-to-recycle materials for recycling, and advocating at the state and national level for producer responsibility programs for these materials.


Zero Waste Implementation Plan, Hawai’i County

More Information

County of Hawai’i Zero Waste Resolution

“Everyone Recycle” PSA

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