Letters for Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Book box work of many hands

We appreciate the kind letter from the president of the Friends of the Kapa‘a Library regarding our donation of a book-exchange box for the community. We want to make sure that the artist, Helen Meade, who provided the delightful imagery of Hawaiian flowers, sea life, and books inside the box, is also recognized. Even Helen’s artistic granddaughter, Sophie Cornell, added her inspired touch to the book box.

Doug Wilmore and Judy Shabert, Kilauea

Some thoughts on bipartisanship, or lack of it

How about some perspective on bipartisanship or the lack there of.

Presently, there’s the federal legislative and the American population versions.

When it comes to the Feds, it’s the lack there of. I never thought it would be anything different. With the Biden $1.9-trillion stimulus package and the Republicans $600 billion counter it was clear that bipartisanship wasn’t happening from a federal perspective.

It’s the same thing with the infrastructure legislation. Quite frankly, both times the Repubs had no intention of serious negotiation, with 30% and 17% of what the cost should be. Huge tax breaks for corporations, but not so much for the American people.

In contrast, the American people overwhelmingly support both pieces of federal legislation. Democrats and independents at 90% and 70%, with Republicans coming in at 30%, which is a lot better than 0% of federal legislators.

OK, so there’s one more piece to this. Joe Manchin, you have to stop being naive. The filibuster is a Senate rule with the purpose of racism, voter suppression and overall obstructionism. For the nation to go forward, you must stop helping Mitch McConnell.

Mark Perry, Lihu‘e

Rubbish disposal is island desecration

Everyone who throws away rubbish ultimately pleads ignorance to the effect of destroying our environment. What choice do we have? Many of us try to recycle, and this helps us feel better about this predicament. But are we sure that all of this is ultimately reused properly? Or is the recycle barged/trucked to be dumped elsewhere? The county never verifies anything publicly.

Our waste system is by right an excuse to pollute. Heaven help us when a tidal wave crashes through our Kekaha landfill. As more people, Costco-type businesses and mail-order merchandise increasingly come to Kaua‘i, the island will be submerged in waste. This waste includes the visitor industry, who should be legally responsible for filing a EIS (environmental impact statement).

This is reality. And what can we do about it? People work hard and have little time to do anything except to accept this desecration. But inside, we know we should be better.

The first step is to publicly come out and verbalize this problem to our politicians, who will say “there’s nothing we can do about it” or “we’ve looked at this before, it’s cost-prohibitive.”

Maybe a committee could at least be formed to open up researching clean use of waste? At least keep trying.

Please malama our home.


Sherwood Conant, Kapa‘a

  1. John Patt April 28, 2021 7:31 am Reply

    Aloha Sherwood, curbside recycling will go a long way to solve our solid waste problem. It has been implemented in many communities across the country.
    The county needs to fund and install a Materials Resource Facility to make curbside a reality. Please support this project.

    1. Numilalocal April 28, 2021 4:54 pm Reply

      Curbside recycling happened for a short time before the contractor, Garden Island Disposal, raised the cost per bin in order to cover their costs of sorting and transportation back to the mainland.

    2. Reality Bites April 29, 2021 1:57 am Reply

      So you want your property taxes to include $300 a year for recycling?…..because that is what it will take. We are in the middle of the Pacific, and recycling is cost prohibitive right now…..you can include the Jones Act to support “cost prohibitive”.

      The “Born and Raised” Government Politicians on this island, who use that statement like it is a resume bullet/accomplishment, should have PLANNED for a waste-to-energy facility for an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. For the love of God….. it is the 21st century. How about some forward thinking on our Government Officials. The cost to move the landfill to another location will cost millions, and probably already has…..but, hey, it is the trademark of Government Workers; do the easy thing.

  2. RG DeSoto April 28, 2021 7:45 am Reply

    Hey Sherwood…ask the county government why they rejected G&R’s proposal to convert their Olokele mill into a trash to energy facility. This would have radically reduced the landfill burden. The system was set up to scrub the emissions etc. and would have added to KIUC’s ability to supply clean power.
    The county rejected the proposal because they refused to give up the landfill tipping fees and pay for/charge the alternative trash to energy fees.
    RG DeSoto

    1. KB Dunbar April 29, 2021 3:50 am Reply

      RG I totally agree with you, along with other posted comments. The answer to future solid waste issues on Kauai is a combination of solutions, all of which would result in closing the County landfill west of Kekaha. Yes to curbside recycling. Yes to curbside compost/yard waste which could be collected and sold on island for garden/agricultural fertilizer. Yes to a waste to energy plant that would burn everything else safely and with minimum air quality issues. The latter, a side benefit to augment Kauai Electric’ Coop’s sustainable energy program to help meet night time electrical generation needs. A partnership opportunity on the proposal to get the ball rolling? If that doesn’t work, then the trash left after committed recycling and composting efforts could be shipped to Oahu, where a larger waste to energy plant could be built.

  3. Chamundi Sabanathan April 28, 2021 7:58 am Reply

    Yes, we should all be minimizing the waste we create. So I don’t follow the slam against Costco, which at least sells in larger quantities—using less packaging per product than when sold in small containers. Plus they hire locally (unlike off-island sellers), pay their employees well and provide good benefits… and they focus on keeping prices low, a boon for people struggling to manage the high cost of living here.
    Locally owned stores do take a hit from lost sales, and that’s the main argument against Costco, in my book.

    1. Rrrrr April 28, 2021 1:40 pm Reply

      Mom n pop stores are convenient only. As they have always been. Compare Costco apples to Times Food, Safeway and Foodland apples.

      Stopped once at a mom n pop and found Kirkland Brand milk for sell @ $11 per gallon basically double Costco’s price. Mom n pop supply their shelves from Costco as does many restaurants. Just note the orange colored carts with gallon of cooking oil, eggs, milk, vegtibles, soda, beer, butter, napkins, paper plates you name it. Because they buy cheaper at Costco than shipping it in themselves.

      Don’t upset the apple cart because buying power means savings to all. Which brings us full circle to Costco fuel station. You pay for convenience and save at least 60 cents per gallon. Call my bluff when you walk thru the doors of the new Target. Costco pays a good wage with benifits let’s compare that in the same carts as your mom n pops. Mom and Pop is your 7/11.

  4. Paulo April 28, 2021 8:19 am Reply

    Aloha Mr. Conant. Very good letter about our lack of requiring curbside recycling. For those who take our recycling in, it’s painful hearing others tossing their clinking bottles, seeing them stuffing recyclable cardboard, etc. into their trash bins for the landfill.

    I too wonder about how much of our recycled items are actually recycled as the price has dropped for recycled material. Too many people, too much trash on a small island, on a small planet.

    As they say when we throw our trash away “there is no away.”

  5. James Kuroiwa, Jr. April 28, 2021 11:12 am Reply

    Mark, as the American education and understanding between a Constitutional Republic and a Democracy continues, the rift between the two will become larger and larger with no resolution in sight. And, the American politics has created the divide without any solutions. The United States was founded as a Constitutional Republic and the beat goes on.

  6. Norm Smith April 28, 2021 4:07 pm Reply

    recycle is the only way on an island

  7. Jenn Sifuentes April 28, 2021 6:38 pm Reply

    Sherwood you are completely right … and the waste system now does seem like a message to throw it all out. I laughed nervously at your imagery of a tidal wave over the landfill! The County is concerned about the lifespan of the landfill and is assessing expansion for a new landfill ($40m + new road). Kauai County updates the Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan ISWMP every 10 years, and the new draft (for the next 10 YEAR PLAN FOR TRASH) will be shared with the public in May! We can do better, and we can vocalize it! I hope there are more voices like yours when public comment on the draft is heard. We cannot truly say our county “recycles” without Curbside Recycling. A Material Recovery Facility costs a small fraction of a landfill, but by enabling Curbside Recycling, it yields social, environmental and economic benefits. (What does the landfill have to offer?) Building a MRF and initiating Curbside Recycling MUST be included in the new ISWasteMPlan … unless they think we should spend another decade filling up landfills.

  8. martha April 28, 2021 7:56 pm Reply

    Great discussion about our trash…. I wish we had more places like Habitat Hawaii- so people have opportunity to reuse items. We all need to be more thoughtful about our spending and disposal practices. I really loved the old days when each community had their own rubbish dumps- and people had opportunity to look for used items that still had some life in them… wish we could have a place people could take items that could be reused.

  9. james April 29, 2021 7:14 am Reply

    Good letter Sherwood. It’s time for Americans, and Kauaians, to get creative. Can trash and recycled materials be used for other things instead of piling them up in a landfill and burying them? Can they be transformed into building materials for homes, roads, other packaging, etc? Is there technology that can help accomplish goals like these? Probably. It would have to be cost effective and any stigma would have to be overcome, but I see this road as a viable future for America, and especially Islands, like ours, that have limited options with trash and recycling avenues. Maybe one role of government should be to allocate federal pandemic dollars to looking into futuristic but achievable re-purposing uses of transforming garbage and recyclables for other purposes instead of filing landfills.

  10. Citizen Cane April 29, 2021 6:07 pm Reply

    Mark Perry, amen to that last paragraph.

  11. Kimi May 3, 2021 11:23 pm Reply

    @ Sherwood Well said, dude! 😉

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