Letter for Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Curbside recycling is a win-win proposition

Kaua‘i is approaching a solid-waste crossroads. Kekaha landfill will need to be replaced in about five years, and methods to reduce solid waste and extend the life of the new landfill need to be put in place very soon.

There are two contending routes to reduce solid waste and prolong the life of the new landfill.

The first is waste to energy (WTE). This entails burning all of our opala at very-high temperatures. On the surface, it’s a great idea: Out of sight, out of mind.

But look at WTE more closely to see if it is really a good idea. Under WTE, we will burn almost all of our solid waste. Is this what we want for Kaua‘i?

Should we burn Styrofoam peanuts and packing bricks?

Should we burn plastic egg and greens cartons?

Should we burn our plastic lawn furniture?

Should we burn our vinyl shower curtains.

Should we burn old carpets and rugs?

Should we burn plastic cups, lids and straws?

Should web burn old seat cushions?

Should we burn computers, cell phones, TVs and printers?

Should we burn milk crates?

Should we burn our garden hoses?

Should we burn our old couch and recliner?

Should we burn our plastic bottles and jars?

Should we burn plastic storage bins?

Should we burn worn-out tires?

Should we burn broken plastic five-gallon buckets?

Should we burn our old garbage cans?

If you say “yes” to all of these and more, then WTE may be for you. But if not, if the excess CO2 and the toxic and carcinogenic ash and gas that results from all of this burning is a concern, then take a serious look at the second route, curbside recycling.

Curbside has been successful on O‘ahu and in numerous communities on the Mainland.

Curbside will significantly prolong the life of our landfill, saving us literally millions in taxpayer dollars. It is far-less expensive that a WTE incinerator. It encourages recycling, which saves us even more in commodity expense and reduces the cost of climate change.

Curbside saves us money, protects our health and keeps our island safe. It’s a win-win-win.

John Patt, Koloa

  1. RGLadder37 May 26, 2021 12:25 am Reply

    Maybe. But when you think of this long term, where does all the waste computers get placed in? It gets dumped in a section of the land not yet used. Runover several times. To dispose these items there is only one way to do it, that is they must either be dismantled or just burned so that there is nothing left of it. This would definitely solve the problem. Sure there may be smoke, sure there may be smell, sure there may be health concern for the workers, but for the sacrifice of the few for the many? It is a worthwhile thing to point out. Find out what and how, then implement the operation. Then see and watch the problems of waste products around the land disappear. This is the only solution to the problem of solid waste being dumped on new land or old land run over many times.

  2. nobody May 26, 2021 5:35 am Reply

    As an island maybe we should try to consume products that generate none or little waste. Water is a good example. I find it tragic to see the size of the Costco plastic water bottle section. The cost of decommissioning a product at the end of its life should be built into its price.

    For a start why doesn’t everyone just stop buying plastic water bottles and use a reusable one?

  3. Petrina Blakely May 26, 2021 8:07 am Reply

    I agree with you John & I would love to see curbside recycling be instated here on Kaua’i however I did not get a promising nor easily understandable response from the testimony that I sent in requesting this… There is someone on island – Abe Kowowitz (sp) via a FB group who is heading up plastic recycling though I Have not yet participated. petrina.kauai@gmail.com

  4. John Patt May 26, 2021 10:02 am Reply

    Aloha RG, Puhi Metals already takes electronics. The computers and TV’s are separated into plastic and metal and then recycled. If we choose to burn our electronics, we would forego the recycling, and instead put harmful gases and ash in the air, and then have to rely on more expensive virgin materials for new products.

  5. Norm Smith May 26, 2021 10:08 am Reply

    unless EPA has changed their stance on emissions.. I believe burning plastic would be a violation Georgia Pacific Toledo Pulp Mill in Oregon has suspended that action. As far as recycle.. I believe the infrastructure to accommodate the waste generated would require shipping costs. Do your homework

  6. kauaidoug May 26, 2021 1:33 pm Reply

    10,000 years from now there will be a line of plastic to denote our geologic epoch of modern man. Drink tap water.

  7. curious dog May 26, 2021 3:46 pm Reply

    We’re addicted to cheap goods & no responsibility. The best answer to all of this is to stop buying. We’re drowning in garbage but Amazon keeps delivering. Ooops, there’s the delivery wagon now…gotta run~

  8. NASA May 27, 2021 8:02 pm Reply


  9. Mark E. Horst May 28, 2021 6:19 pm Reply

    I think a good STAR would be ‘ STOP ‘ the ” Junk Mail “. It’s 80+% of my waste.

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