LIHUE — Each year, new Hawaiian Telcom phone books and directories are sent across the state.
And each May, John Lambert, general manager for Vivial’s Hawaii office — the company that publishes Hawaiian Telcom’s directories — promotes sustainability in schools by encouraging recycling of old directories.
“There’s an opportunity to make use of the material that is out there already — all of those books that are rendered out of date,” Lambert said.
“So rather than just go out and hope that people do something good with the old book, we try to encourage the best use of that material by having recycling drives.”
Lambert said that on Kauai, the materials recycled are used for building insulation or into different types of paper. On Oahu, the directories are sent to H-Power where they are incinerated and converted into electricity.
Eleele, Kapaa Elementary, Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School, King Kaumualii Elementary and Waimea Canyon Middle School are competing for cash prizes to see which can collect the most outdated materials and directories.
The old directories are 100 percent recyclable, said Lambert, and the recycling drives help create friendly competition between schools.
The contest just got under way. As a result of statewide efforts last year, nearly 13,000 pounds of directories were recycled across the Neighbor Islands and kept out of landfills.
On Kauai, approximately 1,000 pounds of recycled directories were collected last year.
Cinthy Kagawa, registrar at Waimea Canyon Middle School, said the program has been a good experience for students.
“The students learn about how recyclable items such as outdated directories can be kept out of the landfill and converted into new materials,” she said. “And it’s also a fun recycling contest with other schools on Kauai and across the Neighbor Islands.”
Lambert said this program makes a difference.
“The books are published once a year, and when you think about how many books we put out there, it’s literally hundreds of thousands statewide. It’s a ton of material,” Lambert said.
“I think it makes all of us more aware of doing stuff with our resources since we’re here on an island.”