KALAHEO — National Botanical Garden’s South Shore Visitors Center at Kukuiula now has water-bottle filling stations and, for a limited time, is handing out NTBG reusable bottles when customers spend $100 on gift-shop merchandise.
It’s part of an effort to reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill and to encourage the elimination of single-use plastics at the gardens.
“Guests are encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles while enjoying the picturesque surroundings of McBryde Garden and Allerton Garden,” NTBG staff said in a press release.
The new fill stations will help keep more than 20,000 plastic water bottles out of the waste stream each year, helping NTBG achieve its goal of eliminating single-use plastic bottles at the gardens. The county Office of Economic Development helped fund the project through a grant.
NTBG’s efforts add to many others on Kauai, targeting single-use plastic from different angles — Surfrider, BRad Foundation and other organizations take on cleanup operations to get plastic off the beaches, while organizations like Zero Waste Kauai promote a switch to other types of containers to reduce the amount of plastic being purchased to begin with.
Single-use plastic bags were banned on Kauai in 2009, and Kilauea was declared a Styrofoam-free community.
With China stopping the flow of recyclables into their country, Garden Isle Disposal has had to find different buyers for Kauai’s recyclables, which has resulted in the island’s recycling program halting the acceptance of clamshells and plastic trays as of February 2018.
If they’re thrown in the trash, those clamshells, plastic trays and any other plastics mixed in are delivered to the landfill, adding to an already at-capacity landfill.
Using water-bottle filling stations at the NTBG South Shore Visitors Center helps reduce the amount of water bottles going into that landfill. There are other filling stations around the island, like at the airport and in the rotunda of the Lihue Civic Center Mo‘ikeha Building.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.