Pay as you throw gets initial OK

LIHUE — The Kauai County Council gave their first stamp of approval to a Department of Public Works proposal that would create the state’s first pay-as-you-throw program, which charges all property owners variable rates that are based how much they discard each month.

This is done, they explained, by providing residents with lower monthly waste collection rates based on the size of the bins that residents and business owners choose for weekly curbside pickup.

Zero Waste Kauai Chair Pat Gegen told the County Council that implementing the proposed program would help county administrators divert 70 percent of all waste from county landfill facilities by 2025. It’s a goal that, Gegen said, can be achieved though more recycling and home composting programs.

“The pay as you throw ordinance is a small step in our quest to become more sustainable,” Gegen told County Council members on Wednesday before they unanimously passed the proposal, outlined in Bill 2551, on first reading.

The proposed pay-as-you-throw program would revamp the county’s current refuse collection fee structure by charging residential properties a monthly $6 base fee to use the county’s five transfer stations and another $6 fee for one 64-gallon cart, or two 32-gallon carts, if those customers opt to have their waste picked up from their homes.

Residents pay the same price on their real property tax assessments, under the county’s current fee structure, for one 96-gallon cart or three 32-gallon carts.

If residential customers opt to use these same carts under the proposed rate structure, they would have to pay the monthly $6 base fee along with an additional $15 fee — a $9 monthly increase from what they pay now.

A public hearing for the county’s pay-as-you-throw proposal will be heard held on Sept. 24 in the Historic County Building Council Chambers in Lihue.

The County Council’s Public Works and Environmental Services Committee will then take up the proposal during their Oct. 1 meeting in the same location.

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