Curbside recycling program ends

At least until a new recycling contractor is in place at the Kauai Resource Center near Lihu’e Airport, curbside recycling is over.

Kauai Community Recycling Services’ (KCRS) curbside recycling service had grown to the point where residents of around 500 homes, or upwards of 1,500 to 2,000 people, enjoyed the bi-weekly collection of recyclable plastics, beverage containers, newspapers, junk mail, white paper, cardboard, and other commodities, explained James Higginbotham, KCRS owner.

But because the Kauai Resource Center was where he brought his non-DBCs (deposit beverage containers), such as newspaper, cardboard and other recyclables, and there is no recycling contractor there now, he has temporarily suspended his curbside recycling service, he said.

“It’s a big hit for us,” said Higginbotham, who also had to lay off the four employees who had been operating the curbside service.

“We temporarily shut down” the curbside service, said Higginbotham, stressing that it is only a temporary closure, until a new recycling contractor is in place at the Kauai Resource Center.

As the governor of California has said on the silver screen, “I’ll be back,” vows Higginbotham. “We’ll be back in business, that’s for sure.”

County officials evicted operators of Island Recycling Incorporated (IRI) effective Sunday for alleged violations of the county contract, and estimates are that it could take most of the rest of this year to get a new recycling contractor at the Kauai Resource Center along Ahukini Road past Lihu’e Airport.

Higginbotham is not qualified nor interested in bidding on the contract, he said.

The operators of IRI accepted the non-DBCs at no cost to Higginbotham. The DBCs he collected were run though KCRS’ redemption center at the Kekaha Landfill, operated through a county contract, he explained.

The income from that Kekaha Landfill operation will allow KCRS to survive until the Kauai Resource Center recycling contractor is in place, he said.

“We’re still making money,” he said.

In the meantime, KCRS curbside customers have been advised to drop off their recyclables at the green Kaua’i Recycles bins across the island operated by Garden Isle Disposal under contract with officials of the County of Kaua’i.

Owners and operators of businesses who were recycling with IRI may take their recyclable items to Garden Isle Disposal, but are advised to call Alvin Tadani, 245-2372, before their initial visits, county officials said.

Garden Isle Disposal is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Pamela V. “Pam” Brown of Kapa’a is one of KCRA’s satisfied curbside-recycling customers, and is eagerly awaiting the day when her recyclables will once again be collected from her home, she said.

“Their service was great. Only $10 per month, and they supplied the plastic bins to customers,” Brown said. “They came every two weeks. After four years of building their clientele, they have effectively almost been put out of business.”

Brown added that, even with the presence of Kaua’i Recycles bins from Princeville to Kekaha, she thinks the service offered by KCRA “encouraged lots of people to recycle who wouldn’t otherwise do it, and who will likely stop now that it’s not as convenient.

“Some people don’t have the time, some physically can’t easily get stuff into those green bins, and some of us simply don’t have large enough vehicles to haul all our recyclables,” Brown said.

“We provided a service that was convenient for people,” Higginbotham said.

The Kaua’i Recycles Program is a residential recycling program, according to county sources. The program features eight drop boxes located across the island, accepting glass, aluminum cans, #1 and #2 plastics, junk mail, newspaper and cardboard.

The bins are located at the Princeville Transfer Station, Kojima Store in Kapa’a, Lihu’e in the Kmart parking lot, Po’ipu in the Brennecke’s Beach Broiler parking lot, at the Lawa’i post office, Eleele Shopping Center, Waimea Canyon Park and Kekaha Landfill.

For more information on county recycling programs, call 241-6891.

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