County recycling coordinator dives in

LIHU’E — For the kind of diving Allison Fraley has in mind, she won’t need a

snorkel.

A dignified description of checking out the island’s trash is

called a solid waste stream assessment. To Fraley and others in her business,

it’s known as dumpster diving.

Though she hasn’t gone diving yet, it is

fairly high on her list of things to do in her new position as Kaua’i County’s

first-ever recycling coordinator.

Just seven days into the job, Fraley is

preparing to move into her new office at the Resource Exchange Center near

Lihu’e Airport. And she has identified four short-term goals for the county’s

recycling program:

l Create a program plan for the Resource Exchange

Center. Network with other exchange centers, other recycling efforts on this

and other islands, and determine the best materials to process at the center.

Center activities will likely focus on housing and assisting local businesses

that use recycled feedstock to manufacture a product, or businesses that

salvage, repair and resell usable items at affordable prices.

l Prioritize

and to start public education programs that foster waste-reduction.

Possiblities include business waste assistance, school with pilot on-site

recycling and composting projects, home composting, and where-to-recycle

publications and hotlines.

l Establish a resource and information database

for recycling and marketing of recycled materials. The database will include

local haulers, processors and end-users here and on other islands, the mainland

and throughout the Pacific Rim.

l Investigate the potential for expanding

the scope of materials collected through the county’s residential drop-off

program (Kaua’i Recycles). Citizens have expressed interest in recycling

plastics and mixed paper. Further research will determine whether it’s

economically feasible for the county to add these materials to the list of

recyclables at community drop-off sites.

Fraley, 33 and single, lives in

Lihu’e. She comes from Santa Cruz, Calif., where she worked her way up to

contract manager and assistant to the executive director of Ecology Action, a

non-profit environmental organization focused on solid-waste reduction.

Not

coincidentally, her focus here likely will remain waste reduction.

“Kaua’i

has a great need for intensive waste reduction programs, and I have the

experience and qualifications to implement them,” she said.

Business-waste

audits yield waste-reduction recommendations, including a continued county

focus on keeping items which become trash from ever reaching the island, she

said.

Since many businesses could recycle glass, for example, without

having to haul the recyclable to another location for processing, it is a

fairly easy program to establish, she feels.

“Maximum diversion is really

what we want here,” she said of keeping as much business and residential trash

out of the landfill as possible.

Waste diversion and recycling have been

“deep” interests of hers for around 10 years, and her social psychology masters

degree thesis was on factors influencing people to be environmentally

considerate, she said.

She knows, then, that economic and other incentives,

as well as attitude adjustments are needed to encourage people to recycle, she

said.

Also, she said, recycling efforts need to be convenient to

lifestyles.

“There are lots of different steps that have to be taken,”

said Fraley, one of six people who were interviewed for the recycling

coordinator position which pays $34,000 a year.

Staff Writer Paul C.

Curtis can be reached at pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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