Resource center could reopen soon

Kaua‘i County is on the verge of reopening the Resource Center, a move that might encourage recycling island-wide and extend the life of the Kekaha Landfill.

Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s administration is poised to sign a contract with Garden Isle Disposal to reactivate the Kauai Resource Center, closed in January 2006 due to a breach of contract conditions by the O‘ahu-based Island Recycling, the contractor at the time.

The county terminated the contract because Island Recycling, between April 2005 and July 2005, conducted commercial garbage hauling and used space and equipment at the Resource Center by the Lihu‘e Airport, a violation of the contract.

Although the county terminated its dealings with Island Recycling, it acknowledged the role the company had in bringing recycling to a much higher level than was previously known on Kaua‘i. Island Recycling, however, claims it did not do anything wrong.

The county lacked the manpower to continue operating the Resource Center after dismissing the previous contractor, leaving it closed until a new contract could be signed.

“We are in the process of execution, meaning the county and Garden Isle are about to sign the contract,” said Allison Fraley, the Kaua‘i County solid waste program development coordinator.

The county has not been able to get a contract signed sooner because of a formal bid process and a need to clarify contract terms, Fraley said.

“We have been moving as fast as we can, but all these issues have come up,” she said.

Troy Tanigawa, head of the Solid Waste Division of the Public Works Department, said the impending signing “is a great thing, because it restores recycling opportunities for the business sector to expand its waste diversion efforts, which will help us save valuable air space at the landfill.”

The landfill was on the verge of reaching capacity in recent years, but gained another five years of life with its vertical expansion approved by the state Department of Health.

For Fraley, “the most important aspect of the resource center is that we will be accepting materials from the business sector and from recycling haulers to facilitate commercial recycling.”

She said other recycling companies, including one from the Mainland and one from O‘ahu, had voiced an interest in the contract, but only Garden Isle Disposal submitted an official bid.

She said once the latest contract is executed, Garden Isle will pay the county $5,000 each month to use the space at the KRC for the contracted services, to accept recyclable materials from residents and businesses, even competing commercial haulers, and to process the materials at no charge.

The only exception is glass, she said.

“We are allowing the contractor to charge up to 5 cents a pound to process glass accepted from recycling haulers,” Fraley said.

The county welcomes the business of Garden Isle, she said.

“They are paying us $5,000 a month, and that is better than we got from the last operator, which paid us $800 a month,” Fraley said.

The county is deriving more income from this contract than from the previous contract because Garden Isle will operate a certified redemption center at the KRC, she said.

“The contractor will conduct a certified redemption center, and it would be for commercial businesses and residents,” she said.

Garden Isle also must secure a solid waste management permit from the DOH to accept recyclable materials and secure additional certification from the agency to operate a certified redemption center, Fraley said.

When the KRC does open, the hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Fraley said.

The facility will accept white and colored paper, telephone books, cereal boxes, magazines and catalogs, cardboard, newspaper, glass, “No. 1 plastics,” which generally include beverage containers, “No. 2 plastics,” which include milk jugs, shampoo bottles and juice containers, aluminum cans and plastic bags.

Built after Hurricane ‘Iniki in 1992, the KRC was designed to refurbish the portions of the mounds of debris left over from the disaster. The idea was to repair material and items to be used again.

“We went to bid three times to find qualified reuse operators, and was not able to do so,” Fraley said.

The proliferation of thrift shops cut into the momentum to use KRC as a reuse facility, opening the way to recycling programs that exist today, she said.

Even with the closure of the KRC in January 2006, Garden Isle continued to operate recycling bins across the island, she said.

• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or lchang@kauaipubco.com.

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