County set to put limit on one load of refuse a day

KEAAU – The county will soon limit the amount of waste residents can dispose at county transfer stations in a single day.

At a sparsely attended meeting in Keaau Wednesday, Greg Goodale, chief of the county Department of Environmental Management’s Solid Waste Division, said the county will make several changes to how its Recycling and Transfer Stations can be used that will take effect on March 1.

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Among those changes will be a requirement that users deposit only one load of refuse per day, with a load size of no more than three cubic yards — about equivalent to an 8-foot-long pickup truck bed filled to the brim, Goodale said.

The new limit, Goodale said, is an effort to minimize the amount of refuse entering the transfer stations at once. Another change will also prevent users from discarding more than one “white good” — large electrical appliances — at collection sites per day, while another will require users to separate “green waste,” or biological waste, from regular residential trash.

The changes are partly to combat abuse of the county transfer stations by commercial services. Although the county code prohibits businesses from using the transfer stations, Goodale said there are still haulers who will deposit huge amounts of refuse or white goods at once, which can overwhelm transfer stations.

However, Goodale said, the changes are not likely to significantly affect average users.

“The average person is probably not throwing away that many appliances each day,” Goodale said.

Another change will have greater effects on Honokaa, Hawi and Keauhou residents. Starting March 1, residents will be able to dispose of green waste at Honokaa, Hawi and Keauhou transfer stations once a week, but on those days, those transfer stations will not collect regular waste.

The Honokaa and Keauhou transfer stations will collect green waste on Saturdays, while the Hawi station will do so on Sundays.

“People who are conditioned to do the right thing, who use our transfer stations, aren’t going to just decide to stop doing it because of this,” Goodale went on. “The people who throw their trash in the ditch will keep doing that until they’re stopped by the police.”

Residents who use commercial haulers to dispose of large appliances can still do so, although Goodale said the haulers will have to take them to appropriate sites, such as Business Services Hawaii.

Because the changes will require people at the transfer stations to ensure that people are disposing of waste correctly, Goodale said the Division is currently hiring seven new employees and is considering hiring seven more.

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Goodale said that the Division is also in the process of seeking contractors who may be able to recycle certain goods that are currently unrecyclable. Because of shifting global recycling markets, transfer stations stopped accepting paper, plastic and other items in October, but Goodale said some mainland contractors may still be able to process such items if the county improves its collection system to prevent cross-contamination.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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