Phone-book recycling saves fewer trees than last year’s 20-ton effort

NIUMALU Even with more schools participating this year, Kaua’i school children recycled 12,000 fewer telephone books this school year than last.

Comments received by and experience of recycler Garden Isle Disposal seem to indicate people wanted to hold onto their 2002 telephone books until the 2003 editions arrived, which for some people was not until late last month.

Garden Isle Disposal representatives not only offered school pickup of books collected by students, but were granted permission by recycling contest co-sponsor Verizon Hawaii to extend the recycling effort through the end of last month, to try to reach the 2001-02 school year’s total of over 40,000 books recycled.

While the recycling effort did not match the 2001-02 school-year results, the island’s students at 14 participating schools (up from 13 last year) did collect 27,224 used telephone books, equivalent to 27,224 pounds of books that will be recycled into new paper products.

With a formula derived that shows one ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, three cubic yards of landfill space, 7,000 gallons of water, two barrels of oil, 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity, and prevents 60 pounds of pollution from spewing into the atmosphere, that means Kauaian young ones through their phone-book recycling efforts saved over 231 trees.

And over 40 cubic yards of landfill space, 95,200 gallons of water, 26 barrels of oil, 55,760 kilowatt-hours of electricity, and prevented 816 pounds of pollution from entering the air.

“Kaua’i does good in recycling for an island its size,” said Steve Kaui, of Garden Isle Disposal.

Wilcox Elementary School students again led the way, recycling 6,481 books, or over eight per child in the 800-pupil Lihu’e school. The school wins $1,000 for the effort. Kapa’a Middle School was second, winning $500, and Kapa’a Elementary School was third, winning $300.

St. Theresa’s School in Kekaha again took first place in the per-capita category, with its 160 students recycling 2,483 books, or over 15 books per student. That school also won $1,000. St. Catherine School in Kapa’a was second, winning $500, and Koloa School was third, winning $300.

King Kaumuali’i Elementary School, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, ‘Ele’ele School, Kalaheo School and Kilauea School all collected at least 1,000 books, so each get $100.

It will be a few weeks before Verizon representatives from Honolulu will be able to get to Kaua’i to present the checks, said Ann Nishida, Verizon Hawaii media relations manager.

The recycling contest probably would not continue without the support of Garden Isle Disposal, she said. They have shown “participation, cooperation and strong support for recycling. Garden Isle Disposal has kept their prices reasonable so Verizon can continue sponsoring this recycling contest for the Kaua’i schools,” she said.

“And they also hold a kick-off luncheon to help things get started with the schools,” she said.

This year, as mentioned earlier, the company also offered to place a bin at any school whose representatives showed interest, so school volunteers would not have to be recruited to deliver the phone books to Garden Isle Disposal.

Verizon, besides being one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies offering long-distance and local telephone service as well as wireless equipment and services, is also the world’s largest publisher of telephone books.

The 2004 local directories may be one end user of directories recycled in the 2002-03 school-year contest, as they are made from 40 percent recycled content, and are 100 percent recyclable.

For the record, each Kaua’i phone book weighs about one pound, while the larger Neighbor Island directories (O’ahu has separate white and yellow pages) weigh about three pounds apiece.

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

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