Reduce, reuse and recycle


HI-5 Redemption Centers like this one can be found around Hawaii making it easier for residents to recycle.

Reducing man’s ecological footprint, also known as going green, has been popularized in recent years and the United States as a whole has made a drastic improvement. However, Hawaii is isolated and has limited space with a growing population. With more than 1.3 million people on a few islands, an enormous amount of trash is accumulated every year.

Residents can start by using less and recycling more. The idea that individual improvements will hardly make a dent in the problem is wrong.

Hawaii residents produce an average of 6.2 pounds of trash a day. The national average is 4.4 pounds per person, making Hawaii 41 percent higher.

This number is outrageous. Hawaii residents always boast about protecting the land and reducing development, but it is the locals that are producing this high amount of trash. It’s as simple as just using less and avoiding impulsive purchases.

Students can help by recycling and reducing their impact. Instead of buying bottled water, purchase a reusable water bottle and save money as well. Avoid unnecessary printing and take notes on a laptop or tablet. Instead of throwing used paper away, reuse it for other purposes.

Avoid the over packaged items like the individually wrapped slices of cheese or hot noodles in Styrofoam containers. Many people love Jamba Juice and although it’s delicious it puts all of its drinks in Styrofoam cups. So bring a container or just avoid these type places.

It all starts with preventative measures. When making purchases simply tell the clerk there is no need for a plastic bag or bring reusable bag. Society feels that it needs to have its items placed in a bag after a purchase. In the future carry the candy bar out of the store. It’s not that hard.

Out-of-state students accumulate a lot of items over four years of college, and most of it won’t be returning home with them. It either finds a new owner or ends up in the trash. Instead of throwing away these appliances, take them to Re-use Hawai‘i, a non-profit organization that accepts donations of reusable materials.

Students in Hawaii should be encouraged to take their cans and bottles to the nearest HI-5 Redemption Centers and get five cents back for every can and bottle. For Chaminade students, a redemption center happens to be right across the street.

The Hawaii Deposit Beverage Container Program was established in 2005 and since then more than 4.7 billion beverage containers have been recycled. A great accomplishment, but with an average of 900 million beverage containers sold in Hawaii every year that means that more than 1.6 billion beverage containers haven’t been recycled since 2005.

Recycling and waste-to-energy programs prevent more than 70 percent of Oahu’s municipal solid waste from entering Waimanalo Gulch Landfill. This is above average and a great improvement, but there is still non-municipal solid waste and the 30 percent that isn’t diverted.

Cities like Seattle have banned Styrofoam food ware and have implemented a mandatory recycling program. Hawaii has had some areas enforce mandatory recycling and offers recycle programs around the state, but it should take the leap and make it mandatory. It’s like completing only part of a job. Throwing it into the ocean isn’t an option, and packing it up on a boat destined for the mainland isn’t a sure solution either, so the state needs to make changes from the origin of the problem.