According to the US EPA, the material most frequently encountered in MSW landfills is plain old paper-it accounts for more than 40 percent of a landfill’s contents. Newspapers alone can take up as much as 13 percent of the space in US landfills.
Biodegradable materials, including paper, do not easily decompose once they are disposed of in a landfill. Paper is many times more resistant to deterioration when compacted in a landfill than when it is in open contact with the atmosphere. A study by William Rathje, who runs the Garbage Project, has shown that, when excavated from a landfill, newspapers from the 1960s can be intact and readable.
Most plastic containers have a code at the bottom of the container/object that states what kind of plastic was used to make it. The number code is located in a triangle of “following” arrows as seen below. Different types of plastic have different properties and will need to be separated to ensure proper processing.
The processing facility is a combination of mechanical and manual sorting operations designed to produce the highest quality material streams at a manageable cost. Contaminants in the recyclables increase the costs of separating them at the processing facility, manual sorting and clogged machinery slows the processing of recyclables. Too many contaminants can render the end product unusable thus wasting resources. If the processor deems our collected materials as excessively contaminated they can reject the load and it will end up in a landfill. Better quality recyclables yield better prices and lowers the cost of the recycling to the County.
It is important to remember that your recycled materials will be used to make new products. Quality matters and the better you follow the guidelines, the less sorting and contamination we will face at the drop-off center and the more money that can go back into the community to improve recycling.
As much as we would like to recycle everything we receive, it’s a matter of market demand. We cannot collect and process materials if there is no one to buy them. Similarly, if we include too much “junk” with our materials (such as plastic kiddy pools or laundry baskets mixed in with milk jugs), we risk losing buyers or getting a lower price for our materials. Undesirable materials and contaminants are landfilled.
Depending on the collected material they are either baled or crushed. Baled materials are generally shipped to the mainland or internationally for sorting and processing. Crushed materials can also be shipped or in the case of glass are sometimes used locally.
No, all you have to do is rinse your goods and sort into mixed or glass bins. See 2-Bin Recycling for more information.
The County of Hawai`i currently does not have curbside rubbish or recycling pick-up services. There are private entities island-wide that provide this service. Please refer to the yellow pages for rubbish and recycling pick up services.