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Britt Yap/AP
A bulldozer buries trash Tuesday, July 1, 2008, at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill in Kapolei,
Hawaii. (AP)

Hawaii Says Farewell to Oahu Trash

July 16, 2008 07:04 AM
by Anne Szustek
The roughly 600-square-mile tropical tourist mecca is running out of space for its garbage, so the Honolulu City Council is readying it to set sail.

30-Second Summary

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The 200-acre Waimanalo Gulch Landfill, Honolulu’s only municipal waste disposal facility, is projected to reach capacity in the next 15 years. Given the constraints of its island setting, the city is looking elsewhere to outsource its trash, namely floating 2,000 tons of it a week to the cheapest bidder, which, at $99 per ton, is currently Seattle-based company Hawaiian Waste Systems.

Hawaiian Waste Systems’ proposal includes shrink-wrapping the garbage before shipping to abide by U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations for Hawaiian exports. It would then be hauled by barge 2,600 miles to Washington state, where it would travel via the Columbia River to Klickitat County, which sees the trash as an economic opportunity.

“Roosevelt Landfill is our county's third-largest employer and single greatest source of municipal revenue,” said Klickitat County board of commissioners chair Ray Thayer.

Oregon’s Columbia Ridge Landfill has emerged as another destination for Oahu’s trash, a scenario the Portland Tribune sees as ironic, considering Seattle sends 2 million tons of trash there each year.

In fact, several places in the United States outsource their refuse, including Anchorage, New York City, Tennessee and Durham, N.C.

Some Hawaiians are not pleased about the prospect of exported Oahu trash. Jeff Mikulina, director of Hawaii’s chapter of the Sierra Club, said to the Associated Press, “That’s certainly not the type of aloha we need to send to the mainland.” An editorial in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin mentions that expanding Waimanalo potentially could destroy nearby ancient navigation stones.

Headline Link: ‘Hawaii’s New Export: Trash’

Video: ‘Trash Headed to Mainland; 2,000 Tons per Week’

Background: Bid for Hawaii’s garbage; other jurisdictions that have their trash taken out

Klickitat County, Wash., vies for Hawaiian garbage
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Opinion & Analysis: ‘Garbage Would Be an Ignominious Export for Honolulu’

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