LIHUE — A measure circulating through the state House is aimed at setting up curbside recycling for Kauai, though originally the bill was meant to include the entire state.
If it passes through the Legislature, the bill could allow Kauai access to money in the beverage container deposit special fund.
“Money has been sitting and gathering in that fund year after year. There’s millions in the fund,” said Rep. Dee Morikawa, who advanced the bill. “This would allow the county to get their hands on the money to use for Kauai’s recycling.”
The bill passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection on Feb. 7, and that’s when a measure aimed at reforming recycling statewide turned into a measure establishing a pilot program for Kauai.
When the bill was heard in committee, only Maui submitted comments — their testimony was in support of the bill.
“Originally it was for the whole state,” Morikawa said. “County of Kauai didn’t even submit comments on it.”
For now the measure has been refined for Kauai, and the county is digging into the bill to be part of the process, according to a statement from county spokespeople on Thursday.
“My idea is that the schools could keep the money made on the program,” Morikawa said. “I’ve sent the mayor some information and said they really need to look into it. The incentive should be to keep it (recyclables) out of the landfill.”
HB 1085 authorizes Kauai County to adopt an ordinance to assume authority and duties of the Department of Health, with regards to recycling, through June 30, 2022.
The measure outlines ways for the county to use money from the beverage container deposit special fund to pay for collection of deposits, conduct recycling education and demonstration projects, promote recyclable market development, support “handling and transportation” of beverage containers, and to hire personnel to oversee the implementation of the program.
“Unencumbered funds at the end of each fiscal year may be expended for the benefit of Department of Education schools within the county,” the measure states.
While the measure still needs to go through other committees with the potential for amendments, Morikawa said she’s ready to start the conversation and is hoping it will result in help for Kauai’s recycling needs.
“People have been complaining that the redemption isn’t easy. The redemption areas are limited and the lines are long. Some people are just throwing it (recyclables) in the trash already,” Morikawa said. “I keep thinking there’s a good way (to set up the program) and maybe the schools can redeem it and keep the money.”
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.