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Hawaii Waste Disposal

What’s in your trash can?
Oahu generates more than 2.2 million tons of waste annually from residential, commercial and industrial sources. At your home, about 15% of your trash is recyclable newspaper, aluminum, glass and plastic; and 25 - 30% is compostable yard trimmings. What is in your trash at work varies with the type of business. In an office, as much as 85% of what goes into trash cans is recyclable office paper. In a retail operation, a major component of the waste is cardboard. In a restaurant, you will find a lot of glass and food waste in the trash. A Waste Characterization study breaks down our waste into categories.

Why should we recycle?
Recycling and composting will reduce the amount of waste going to disposal sites. Existing landfills will last longer. And it makes so much sense to utilize our waste as a resource for remanufacturing new products.

In 1988, the year before the City began organizing its recycling effort, Oahu recycled approximately 100, 000 tons of material. Today, we recycle more than 700, 000 tons. See Oahu Recycling Rates 1988 - present. Curbside recycling has been expanded islandwide and most businesses have recycling programs in compliance with local mandates. Follow this link to learn more about the City's Future Plans.

Did you know...
Curbside recycling bins make sorting easy – gray for refuse, green for green waste, and blue for mixed recyclables.

City government employees have recycled more than 250, 000 pounds of paper annually since the beginning of the City's office paper recycling program in 1989. All yard trimmings and grass from City parks and grounds are mulched or composted. City streets have been paved with glasphalt, an asphalt mixture containing crushed glass. The glass came from Oahu residential and commercial collection programs.

The City buys only recycled-content paper to support the recycled paper market. That means everything from toilet tissue and paper towels to copier and computer paper is purchased with recycled content. The City continues to explore other types of products made from recycled material - such as recycled plastic lumber - which could be used in place of products currently being purchased.
The Honolulu Zoo has become a showcase for recycled products. The Zoo has been making good use of products manufactured from your recycled milk jugs, glass containers and yard trimmings collected around the island. While you visit with the animals, check out "We Recycle, too at the Zoo."

Did you know...
This crushed glass garden sculpture created by Hawaiian Cracked Glass for the Honolulu Zoo can be found in the Elephant Encounter Area.

In the Elephant Encounter Area and the new Tropical Stroll Garden you’ll find recycled plastic benches that were re-manufactured from milk jugs. Glass containers collected from community recycling programs have been crushed, mixed with asphalt to create glasphalt and used to pave the walkways. Those cute little elephant sculptures are made from crushed recycled glass, too.

Did you know...
It takes 2, 700 milk jugs to make a picnic table.

Recycled Product Facts:

Picnic Table = 2, 700 milk jugs
Park Bench = 1, 100 milk jugs
Elephant Encounter Area Walkway = 7 tons (14, 000 lbs.) of recycled glass

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