Kim cancels compost contract

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Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday signed a termination of a composting contract that was “deemed disadvantageous” to Hawaii County.


Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday signed a termination of a composting contract that was “deemed disadvantageous” to Hawaii County.

The county informed the contractor, Hawaiian Earth Recycling, that the service agreement for the Organics Diversion Program in East and West Hawaii with the county will be terminated as of June 30, according to a Friday statement from the mayor’s office.

Kim said he had no issue with the performance of Hawaiian Earth Recycling, and that he thinks composting is an important part of any waste reduction program. He said composting plays a significant role on Hawaii Island.

“The two areas of concern were the financial commitments of the county, and the limited nature of the contract regarding composting,” Kim said.

Kim said earlier this month that he was looking to scrap plans for a $10.3 million composting facility, citing concerns about its cost. He said at the time he supports the intent of the project, which would divert organic waste from Hawaii County’s landfills, but that he saw the contract signed last year as being too expensive and not comprehensive enough.

He also said he intended to work with Hawaiian Earth Recycling to end the agreement while avoiding penalties.

The contract had provisions for canceling if certain steps weren’t met, including the completion of an environmental assessment. One clause says the county would have to reimburse the contractor for development costs.

Hawaiian Earth Recycling was the only company that responded to the previous request for proposals.

The composting facility would be designed to process food waste, food soiled paper and green waste, according to the project’s draft EA. If built, trucks would take rubbish from East Hawaii to the West Hawaii landfill and return with organic waste for composting following closure of the Hilo landfill, county officials previously said.

Hawaiian Earth Recycling, which couldn’t be reached for comment late Friday, will continue current operations until the official termination date of June 30, according to the mayor’s office. All terms and conditions of the current contract will remain in place until the termination date.

According to William Kucharski, director of the county Environmental Management Department, the mayor instructed the department to develop a plan to ensure a continued mulching operation with a new contract.

“The goal is to have a seamless operational transfer of the very successful mulching operation,” Kucharski said.


The mayor directed Environmental Management to create a comprehensive waste minimization/waste diversion plan, and to prepare a request for proposals to seek an islandwide solution to the county’s solid waste disposal issues, Kucharski said.

He said the mayor wants to develop a process leading to a dramatic reduction in waste disposal, with a commensurate increase in overall recycling and material reuse, in compliance with the Integrated Solid Waste Plan requirements.

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