Recycling Report
Executive Summary
Background~Where We Stand
~What Do We Spend?
~What Do We Support Financially?
~What Do We Recycle?
Recycling Efforts in Maui County that Produce Exemplary Results
Incentive to Recycle
Exhibit A - MRF operated by Maui Disposal on Mokulele Highway
Exhibit B ~ Percents of Total Waste Diverted and Landfilled -- Actual & Potential
Exhibit C ~ Full Cost Analysis of Landfill Capacity (per ton)
Exhibit D ~ Maui County Waste Diverted & Generated (1994-2001)





Convened by Mayor James “Kimo” Apana
January 2002


Matthew Betsill
Kika Bukoski
Christina Campian
Sam Clark
Bruce Erfer
Rubens Fonseca
Bill George
Lee Guthrie, Chair
Derek Heafey
Mike Molina
Tom Reed
Shaun Stenshol
John Wilson
Larry Zolezzi

Terryl Vencl -- Advisory
Joy Webster -- Advisory
Lisa Hamilton -- Advisory

County Government Representatives:
Irene Cordell
John Harder
Lance Taguchi

Report Issued: October 2002



Mayor James “Kimo” Apana convened the Task Force on January 12, 2002, to
determine a strategy for meeting a goal of 50% diversion from the
landfill within a limited time period.
The Task Force was charged to formulate the recycling needs of the
County, determine how these needs could best be met, estimate the cost
that would be involved, and project the results.
The Task Force generally met twice each month and developed its response
to the stated charge. Its report follows.

1. County of Maui to establish a temporary Material Recovery Facility (MRF) immediately, to preclude further emergencies in processing. A permanent Material Recovery Facility must follow to ensure implementation and support of this Task Force (Implementation of a temporary MRF is estimated to take under three months; a permanent facility should take no longer than two years at an estimated cost of $1.8 million.)
2. Divert all cardboard from the landfill, concurrent with opening the Material Recovery Facility. (This recommendation can be implemented at minimal cost to the
3. Divert all green waste from the landfill.(not dependent on the establishment of the MRF). (This recommendation can be implemented at minimal cost to the County, and would produce the “biggest bang for the buck.”)

The implementation of these three recommendations will result in exceeding the goal of 50% diversion within a limited time period. These and additional recommendations are detailed in the report. They will provide environmental benefits as well as economic stimuli.


Maui County currently recycles (diverts from landfill) 26% of its solid waste (32% if including the biosolids produced from sewage). The remainder of all collected waste is buried in landfills. In addition to recommendations, this report supplies background--details of current County solid waste expenditures, recycling statistics, and information as to how and where we recycle, and what products we produce from recycled materials. It is interesting to note that if the Mayor’s 50% goal were met within ten years, the tonnage deposited yearly into the landfills may be about the same as it is today (174 thousand tons)--due to expected increases
in population and visitors. Hence the goal of 50% diversion should be viewed as a minimum. Also note that waste and recyclables are typically measured in tonnage. A ton can comprise about 32,000 twelve ounce plastic water bottles or one small automobile. All statistics presented (both tonnage and dollars) are for Maui County (including Lanai, Molokai, and the Hana area). However, our recommendations are specific to the Island of Maui, excluding the Hana area which has its own landfill.


If all recycling were truly economically viable (i.e., it would cost less to divert or recycle all materials rather than to deposit them into a landfill) there would not be a task force assigned to make recommendations. In other words, if it were always cheaper to recycle--the Mayor wouldn’t need a task force to tell him to do so. In
many instances recycling is economically viable (e.g., when green waste is composted, or when the recycled aluminum from cans is processed into new cans). In other instances it is not possible to prove that it is cheaper to recycle waste than it is to bury it. For example, the current $100 per ton subsidy to the processor is what enables glass to be recycled on island--alternatively it could be landfilled for less than half this cost. However, the processor purchases equipment, provides jobs, leases space, markets products, etc. This economic stimulation does not occur when items are landfilled. Economics aside, it is imperative that we maximize the amount of waste diverted from our landfill(s). Living responsibly on our geographically isolated island dictates the importance of diversion and recycling. Despite the fact that Maui is fortunate to have over a century of allocated landfill space yet unfilled, all members of the Task Force are passionate in their commitment to recycling. Yet we’re practical enough to understand that economics count.

The economics of recycling is truly a puzzle--one whose pieces often don’t quite mesh, often eliciting a “chicken and egg” dilemma. The puzzle is compounded on Maui by the fact that much of what is diverted from landfill must be shipped off island to a foreign country or to the west coast of the mainland. Furthermore, our recyclables are often stored prior to shipment, awaiting constantly fluctuating prices to rise, or simply awaiting someone to “accept” our diverted materials.
For example, today’s market may be paying top dollar for used cardboard while there may be a glut of plastic, driving the price below what it costs to ship. In February 1999, the market price per ton for used cardboard was $39; one year later it was $85, and in February 2002, it had dropped to $46! Our puzzle is further complicated by having several private haulers of refuse and recyclables in addition to the County’s
residential service. We recognize that the most economically sound recycling is when our waste is recycled on island--whether composted into mulch, processed into plastic lumber, used in roadbeds/asphalt, or simply reused in its original form (everything from clothing to sofas to windows to computers). These uses eliminate (divert) waste from being buried in our landfill--often buried at a higher cost to the County than the cost to recycle. The cost (per ton) to landfill waste will continue to increase slightly over time (even closed landfills are financial burdens as they must be monitored). The cost (per ton) to recycle waste will decrease as we divert more of those items that are efficiently and effectively recycled on island. In addition, it may be economically viable to ship some recycled items off island due to their scrap value (e.g., aluminum, steel). Other items (e.g., batteries, tires, motor oil) are mandated for recycling and are typically shipped off island. Interestingly, the dengue fever outbreak resulting in the successful efforts to rid the island of mosquito breeding sites, will result in increases in the amounts of metals and tires recycled in fiscal year 2002. When items are baled and shipped off island, it is typically difficult to justify recycling on a strictly financial basis. It is then that we must justify such action because “it is the right thing to do.” When recyclables are processed on island (e.g., green waste composted, plastic milk jugs made into plastic lumber), the economics become more attractive--particularly when the jobs and additional economic activity created becomes part of the equation. Hence the “chicken and egg” adage: we can’t financially justify the collection of recyclables without on-island processing, and we can’t financially justify on-island processing without sufficient recycled materials.



~ County design/build a material recovery facility (MRF) as soon as possible (Exhibit A). The factors that determine the
viability of a material recovery facility as an element of our solid waste management plan are:
• Establishment of a temporary MRF, a necessity due to our current processing crisis.
• Designing and building a workable permanent facility that meets our County's needs.
• Sorting creates a higher quality product for remanufacturing, locally and abroad, and a broker working with a MRF helps ensure the best market price.
• Remote collection and sorting facilities feed into a central MRF. Actions enabling the MRF to achieve efficient and cost effective results:
• Reduced shipping costs--shipping costs off island negotiated by administration.
• Cooperatives formed with other islands to ensure the best market and price (see further information at "Shipping of materials off island").
• MRF serves as a buy-back center for community members--from non- profit fund raising efforts to individuals earning extra cash.
• Support from County leaders.

"Landfill costs continue to rise, whether you decrease tonnage received or not. Material recovery facilities drop in costs to operate as time goes on. Avoidance costs make recycling a must for any community. The Council is behind me all the way; it (MRF/recycling) would not have happened without them. Recycling is an asset, offsetting part of the cost of solid waste. A MRF is a part of the whole of solid waste management, viewed as one off-set to costs of collection of solid waste." Rick Reeves, Pickens County, North Carolina, Recycling Department.

~Eliminate green waste from the landfill. Overall diversion increases to approximately 55% with all green waste eliminated from the landfill. (Exhibit B)
• This action is not dependent upon a MRF, nor does it have a significant cost impact to the County. This action can be implemented in phases.
• Existing facilities have capacity for added processing. Some possible ways the administration could assist in this effort, aside from eliminating the green waste from the landfill, would be to:

* assist local companies in opening/expanding composting facilities by fast tracking approvals as needed;
* immediately modify the automated residential refuse collection (currently the Kahului routes) to include separated green waste collection.
• Commercial tipping fees are currently $7 per ton for green waste. If taken to the landfill the fee is $43 per ton. Elimination of green waste from the landfill should not have any negative economic impact on commercial haulers and their customers.

~ Eliminate cardboard from the landfill, concurrent with opening a material recovery facility. Overall diversion increases to approximately 41% with all cardboard eliminated from the landfill; if in conjunction with green waste elimination--64%. (Exhibit B) This elimination should be phased in to
allow haulers and their customers to comply.
• Cardboard is a stable material on the commodity market; even with dips as low as they have been in the past couple of years cardboard is a paying commodity.

~ Mandate recycling at public events, as soon as possible.
• All events occurring on County property or requiring a County permit should have facilities to collect recyclable materials generated at their event; for example, plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, and cardboard.
• This effort would not increase our diversion significantly, but will increase awareness and educate the public as to recycling.

~ Recyclables that can be used on island (i.e., processed into saleable items) should stay on island. This will limit the control that external markets now have over our recycling programs.
• Use of recyclables on island has a significant positive entrepreneurial effect, including creation of jobs and markets.
• Eliminates the cost of off-island shipping.

~ Bulky item pick-ups increased and regularly scheduled
• More frequently scheduled days for bulky item pickup also allows the mosquito and mouse problem to be addressed on a continuing basis.
• An agreement by the County must be made with existing scrap yard(s) to ensure fluids are removed and retained to meet environmental standards.
• Some communities find that even with a charge for this service, illegal dumping does not escalate and there is an increase in diversion of these items.

~Education, Education, Education--via funding to the Diversion Sector of non-profits already in operation (Maui Recycling Group, Community Work Day, Teens on Call, etc.), and initiating efforts to increase participation in all recycling efforts. Recent examples of educational efforts that work:
• Incentives such as prizes for a citizen's good efforts with their curbside recycling.
• Local school programs.
• Surveys of garbage composition in select neighborhoods with door hangers congratulating persons on compliance and encouraging them to improve further their recycling efforts. Appropriate telephone numbers and resource information is supplied.
• Inserts into the newspaper, such as the one Maui Recycling Group publishes (no public funds are used for this publication--being paid for by proceeds from advertising in the insert).
• Newsletters.

~ Shipping of materials off island
• County administration should solicit the best prices possible from the shipping lines for the shipping of recycled materials.
• Cooperative marketing among the islands would afford more stable markets for our materials. For example, all neighbor islands contract
with the same end markets for tin and steel cans. (The intent is not to ship using the same barge or to coordinate shipments from one island, but simply to use the same end markets.) This would ensure a strong supply of materials, thus allowing a better price and consistent market to be attained.

~ Implement residential curbside recycling with equitable fee structure for waste disposal
• Customers pay for collection based upon amount of waste picked up for disposal.
• Recommend the County consider the possibility of placing this aspect of solid waste management out to bid, for best options and prices.
• Drop boxes must be maintained in areas without rubbish collection and curbside recycling.

~ Implement Economic Enterprise Zone to encourage economic growth in area of remanufacturing of recovered materials (urban ore).
• The groundwork has already been done by past councils and needs only to be implemented. Some areas of Maui County have been designated but others need to be established as well.
• Allows for low-cost loans to start up operations--a new economy from
recovered materials (urban ore).

~ Paper
• Determine best practices for paper recycling (Diversion Section of Solid Waste Division).
• MRF will enable more viable options, and prompt action, once online.
• This commodity, in the near future, could be utilized in composting.

~ Food waste
• Determine best practices for food recycling (Diversion Section of Solid Waste Division).
• Local company and local network already in place.
• Future elimination of food waste in the landfill is possible with proper planning and assistance to collectors, processors, and producers.





In fiscal year 2001, approximately $10.8 million was spent by the County of Maui for its solid waste management. Offsetting income (user fees) includes about $5 million from landfill tipping fees and $1.5 million from residential collection fees. Hence the County’s net expenditure was about $4.3 million.
A. Disposal (landfill) $5.5 M...less $5.0 M fee income = $0.5 million
B. Residential collection $3.9 M...less $1.5 M fee income = $2.4 million
C. Recycling $0.3 M... (no user fee income) = $0.3 million
D. Biosolids Composting $1.0 M... (no user fee income) = $1.0 million TOTAL $10.8 M...less $6.5 M fee income = $4.3 million

The County’s expenditure for recycling and biosolids composting was $1.3 million (‘C’ + ‘D’ above), and resulted in the diversion of 80 thousand tons of waste--$17 per ton. The County’s gross expenditure for collection and disposal was $9.4 million (‘A’ + ‘B’ above), resulting in the burial of 174,000 tons of waste--about $54 per ton (however, user fees pay about 70% of this $54).

The County’s monetary contribution to the overall recycling effort is minimal and is supplemented by:
• Free labor and transportation supplied by those individuals who recycle.
• The contribution by individuals who pay a private company for curbside recycling.
• The contribution by the many businesses who pay private haulers to collect their recyclables.
• Recycling agencies assisted by grants and volunteer labor.
• State recycling subsidies paid to haulers and processors (e.g., glass).

Residential refuse collection currently costs the County about $187 per year for each of the 21,000 accounts. If landfill costs are added (disposal of 1.6 tons per household per year) this figure rises to $240. The County charges $72 per household for this $240 service--“subsidizing” $168 per account. With approximately 21,000 accounts, this subsidy exceeds $3.5 million. Note that households not subscribing to the County residential refuse collection service share in support of this subsidy via property taxes.

It currently costs the County about $33.50 per ton to bury waste in its landfill. This figure is the result of a “full cost analysis,” and summarized in Exhibit C. however, at a cost of “only” $33.50 per ton to landfill, the “apparent” cost to recycle is often more. (The measure of “tonnage” can be misleading, as volume is often a better measure of landfill usage. For instance a ton of plastic takes up four times the landfill space as does a ton of many other materials.)


PAPER: the County pays a $25 per ton subsidy to Maui Scrap Metal (MSM), who also charges the haulers $25 per ton. Hence, the $50 income per ton enables MSM to bale the paper and ship it off island.
BIOSOLIDS: The County pays $1 million to EKO Compost to compost biosolids (waste water treatment sewage sludge)--as is Federally mandated.
GLASS: The State Department of Health distributes money funded by a fee of 1.5¢ per glass container assessed to those that bring these bottles into the State. Currently Maui County receives $130 per ton of glass --$30 goes to the hauler, $100 to the processor.


Many citizens of Maui have been responsible in their commitment to recycle. In fiscal year 2001, 26.3% of all solid waste generated was diverted from our landfills. (This figure rises to 31.6% when we include the diversion of all 18,307 tons of biosolids, via composting.) Exhibit D summarizes the tonnage and percentages of waste diverted from that generated on Maui from 1994-2001.

In fiscal year 2001, we recycled (diverted from the landfill) more than 80,000 tons of waste:

8.6% Paper 6,876 tons (over 70% cardboard)
0.3% Plastic 235 tons (produces large volume per ton)
2.6% Glass 2,084 tons  
24.0% Metals 19,291 tons (split about evenly between junk cars and scrap metal; aluminum represents less than 2%)
11.7% Organics 9,428 tons (comprises food waste and fats/oil/ grease)
27.0% Green Waste 21,694 tons (over 90% yard trimmings)
22.8% Biosolids 18,307 tons (all biosolids [sewage sludge] are composted)
3.0% Other 2,433 tons (tires, batteries, hazardous waste, textiles, construction debris, etc.)
100.0% TOTAL 80,348 tons diverted from landfill

In 1994 the County undertook its most recent study to determine the solid waste stream generated:

Percentage of Solid Waste Generated (by material category)--1994

Paper 27%  
Plastic 7%  
Glass 4% Note that Green Waste and Paper comprised
Metals 7% 61% of all solid waste generated in 1994.
Organics 8%  
Green Waste 34% We generate more than double the green waste
Other 13% per capita as compared to the mainland.
TOTAL 100%  

Extrapolating the results from this 1994 study to the average of the two fiscal years 2000 and 2001, results in estimates (by material category) of the percentages of solid waste that we divert:


Paper 11% Metals 91% Green Waste 30%
Plastic 1% Organics 43% Other 12%
Glass 24%    

(In other words, of all the paper waste generated, about 11% was recycled.)



A significant amount of food waste produced by commercial food establishments is recycled. All food waste collected for Pua’a Food Waste is delivered to pig farmers. At least a dozen such farms are on a waiting list. Hence, there is additional capacity for the diversion of food waste. Currently containers are available and a service is established with hotels, restaurants, and institutions.

Biosolids (also known as sewage sludge) is the by-product of waste water processing, and technically may not be considered “solid waste.” The County of Maui pays $1 million to ensure that all of the approximate 19,000 tons of biosolids are diverted from the landfill each year. Biosolids are composted with other organic materials by EKO Compost to produce a saleable product. The County receives a portion of the resulting product at no cost.

In addition to biosolids/green waste composting, EKO also composts wooden shipping pallets. Maui Earth Compost, in addition to composting green waste, utilizes drywall and wood scraps in their compost. Campaign Recycle Maui also composts.

Aloha Plastic Recycling (APR) produces plastic lumber and associated products (outdoor tables and benches). Their plastic lumber is far superior to wood for many exterior uses. APR utilizes mostly plastic containers with the #2 on the bottom (milk jugs, gallon water bottles, bleach bottles, etc.) to make these products. APR could process all the #2 plastic collected on Maui, yet has been limited in its supply.

Two companies process glass: Maui Disposal (MD) and Aloha Glass Recycling (AGR). MD crushes the glass into small pieces, and ships container loads to the West Coast. AGR pulverizes the glass and screens it into useful products. The bulk of this glass is used in road paving (displacing aggregate currently mined from the local quarry). Other products include sandblast grit (much safer and less hazardous than other blasting mediums) and water filter media.

The worst type of “landfill abuse” is when items are buried in the landfill that could be used in their present form by other individuals or organizations. Modeled after the LA SHARES program serving Los Angeles County, Aloha Shares Network accepts listings of surplus items from businesses and residents and matches these donations with the “wish lists” of non profits, churches, and schools. The results: less waste in the landfill; community organizations get needed items at no cost; donors realize reduced disposal costs and a tax deduction. During the period of August 2000 through December 2001, approximately 15 tons of items were diverted from the landfill.

This private company has offered residential curbside recycling to 80% of Maui’s households for over twelve years. Currently biweekly curbside service is available to most of their residential customers. Remote customers are offered monthly service. As they gain more customers, price for service has dropped.

This company accepts used cooking oil from all restaurants on the island and through a unique chemical process creates Biodiesel--a diesel fuel suitable for all diesel engines. When Biodiesel is used the exhaust contains significantly less harmful emissions than conventional diesel fuel. Biodiesel is also non-toxic, biodegradable, non-flammable, and is currently used in many cars, boats, trucks, generators, and farm equipment. Pacific Biodiesel also receives all grease trap waste on the island. This is an oily/water waste product. This mixture is processed where the water is removed and the resulting oil is used as boiler fuel. Both waste products are known for causing blockages in sewer lines, and had previously been landfilled. They are now used to make energy. The combination of the two processes is probably unique to Maui.



Unlike most issues, recycling is “one-sided.” That is, there is little argument against recycling--it’s simply the right thing to do--it makes sense--it’s good for the environment--it supports the economy. And with the passing of each year and the continued depletion of non-renewable resources, recycling becomes more economically viable. For example, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycled aluminum saves the nation 95% of the energy that would have been needed to make new aluminum from ore. Recycled iron and steel result in energy savings of 74%, paper in 64%, etc. Recycling is responsible human behavior; but behavior must often be incentive driven. However, on Maui the only incentive that drives this behavior is that it’s the right thing to do.
Here, in almost every case, it costs an individual or business money and convenience to recycle. A good portion of us clean, sort, and save our recyclables--transport and deposit them at a recycling drop box or transfer station. Other individuals, businesses, hotels and condos actually pay to have private haulers pick up their recyclables (these payments can be somewhat offset by leaving less waste to be hauled away).
Unfortunately on Maui we have instituted a disincentive to recycle. The cost structure of County residential trash collection allows from one to six cans to be emptied weekly for $6 per month ($72 per year). Why go through the hassle (i.e., cost and inconvenience) of recycling when you have, in effect, five “free” cans to fill each week? It’s certainly easier to dispose of everything weekly in these six containers than it is to clean, sort, save, transport, and deposit one’s recyclables. It is truly exemplary and a testament to the commitment of those who recycle, that Maui diverts as much as it does from landfill. Those on Maui who recycle do so because it’s the right thing to do, not because it saves them money or convenience.
To increase recycling on Maui we must institute payment structures and conveniences that encourage everyone to recycle (and at the same time not encourage illegal dumping). It should be cheaper for businesses to recycle their cardboard, paper, and green waste as opposed to throwing it away. It should be cheaper and as convenient for residents to recycle, as opposed to throwing it away. We must institute equitable fees for refuse collection services to ensure it costs a household more to throw more away. When no such financial incentives exist, recycling must be encouraged and supported because “it is the right thing to do.”


Exhibit A

Existing MRF on Mokulele Highway



Exhibit B


Exhibit C

Central Maui -- Phases I & II:
Total Tonnage (1987 -2003) -- capacity currently estimated at 2.4 million tons, although the design estimate was 1.6 million tons.

Current Annual Tonnage -- 160,000 tons deposited into landfill.

COSTS (estimated per ton):

  $3.3m annual expenditure/160,000 tons
  44 acres @ $10,000 per acre /2.4m tons
  $4.5 million includes costs of improvements
  $10 million (consultant estimated)
Post Closure
  $60,000/yr (30 yrs) monitoring/maintenance
  $200,000/year indirect administrative costs
Debt Service
  20 year, 6%, general obligation bonds on land, construction, & closure costs of $14.94m; Intrest = $11.11m/2.4m tons
  per ton (estimated)

Central Maui -- Phases IV, V & VI:

Estimated Capacity -- 5.2 million tons

Estimated Annual Tonnage -- 160,000 tons deposited into landfill (this figure can only be maintained by increased recycling)

COSTS (estimated per ton):

  2002 costs + 25% = $4,125,000/160,000 tons
  70 acres @ $25,000 per acre /5.2m tons
  $35.5 million
  $15 million
Post Closure
  $100,000/yr (30 yrs) monitoring/maintenance
  $250,000/year indirect administrative costs
Debt Service
  20 year, 6%, general obligation bonds on land, construction, & closure costs of $52.25m;
Interest = $38.86m/5.2m tons
  per ton (estimated)


Exhibit D