That troubling garbage pile

Garbage is piling up on Kaua’i. At the rate that islanders are throwing away trash, the Kekaha Landfill will be full in five years, officials say. The time to plan for other methods of waste disposal is now.

Thankfully, movers and shakers interested in the trash issue aren’t sitting on their hands.

Particularly gratifying is the groundswell of support for recycling at the community level.

A representative of Princeville Corp. met Wednesday with members of the Po’ipu Rotary Club to discuss a plastic recycling program sponsored by the company. So far, the program has steered residents in the North Shore area and Lihu’e to recycling drop-off sites for plastic bags and bottles. There’s no reason the same effort—better yet, curbside pickups of recyclables in residential neighborhoods to encourage recycling at home—can’t work in the South Shore area and even spread throughout Kaua’i County. The result: Less material going into the dump, plus waste turned into reusable material for a variety of uses.

The recycling focus dovetails with Kaua’i County’s study of a proposed new landfill. That process hit a bump this week when the county suspended the $50,000 contract it issued to a consultant to evaluate possible dump sites. County officials said they want more time to work with a solid-waste task force on making sure that conditions of public approval of any new site would be met.

Prolonging the site-selection process is a good idea as long as there isn’t any foot-dragging. Five years until the existing landfill maxes out might seem like no sweat, but that’s also the estimated length of time it will take to open a new dump. A decision on the new home of Kaua’i’s garbage can’t wait much longer.


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