Thousands in cash prizes up for grabs again in annual phone-book recycling contest

NAWILIWILI – Gathering recently with a common goal of diverting as many telephone books as possible from the Kekaha Landfill were representatives of schools, the media, Verizon and Garden Isle Disposal, as well as interested citizens, and County Councilmember-elect Joe Munechika.

It was the kickoff luncheon for the annual telephone-book recycling contest, offering over $4,000 in cash and prizes to Kaua’i’s public and private schools.

In addition to offering cash prizes both to schools that collect and deliver to Garden Isle Disposal the most telephone books, and to the schools that collect the most books per student, the annual contest hopes to instill in young ones a lifelong desire to recycle, organizers said.

“It’s a real worthwhile program,” said Gary Heu, for a few more weeks the Kaua’i manager for Verizon Hawaii before he retires and assumes new duties as administrative assistant to Mayor-elect Bryan Baptiste.

The program involves the community and encourages tomorrow’s adults to engage in recycling, he said.

One of his last official duties at Verizon is coordinating the contest, and passing out the awards checks. “That’s always a cool experience,” said Heu.

Wilcox Elementary School, with its large student body and annual participation in the program, normally does well in the most-books category, while St. Theresa School in Kekaha usually takes first place in the per-student category, Heu continued.

The contest involves not only knocking on neighbors’ doors and asking them for their old phone books, but educating the youngsters about what recycling means to the world, he said.

For example, last year, 13 Kaua’i schools recycled over 40,000 telephone books, resulting in saving 341 trees. The year before, 407 trees were saved as a result of phone-book recycling on Kaua’i, he said.

Over 54,000 phone books were distributed on Kaua’i last year.

“What we’re after is participation, and educating the youth,” said Alvin Tadani of Garden Isle Disposal. The goal, he added, is to increase diversion of recyclable goods from the landfill, and thus extend the life of the landfill.

Garden Isle Disposal will accept telephone books for recycling from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, now through Friday, Dec. 20.

The business is closed on Thanksgiving day, and will not accept books from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Those bringing books should call Garden Isle Disposal in advance, 245-2372, to inform their representatives how many people and vehicles will be coming to drop off books.

Those dropping off books must wear covered shoes, and should check in at the company’s main office, at the top of Niumalu Road here.

No smoking is allowed in the company yard, where the speed limit is five miles per hour, Tadani continued.

The first-place school in each category will win $1,000, plus $100 gift certificates each from Big Save, Inc. Second place is good for $500 in each category, and third-place schools win $300 each. All the winners also receive the Big Save gift certificates.

Schools that do not win any of the top six prizes but recycle 1,000 or more phone books will get $100 each from Verizon.

Winners will be announced in mid-January.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at or 245-3681 (ext. 224).


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