A great way to reduce the amount of trash you produce is to recycle it! According to the City and County of Honolulu Refuse Division, 160,000 single-family homes are in the three-cart curbside recycling program that is serviced with a fully automated collection system. The gray, blue, and green carts that sit outside houses may look familiar—but do you know what goes inside them? It can be difficult to differentiate between the many types of plastic and paper that we encounter on a daily basis, so here are a few helpful hints to ensure we are properly disposing of our waste.
The gray cart is to be used for everything going to the landfill. Food waste, single-use plastics, wrappers, and most packaging are all things that should be placed in the gray cart. If you’re not sure whether you can put it into the green or blue cart, it’s safest to put it in the gray.
The blue cart is for mixed recyclables, which are items that you would normally take to a recycling center. Glass bottles and jars, cans, newspaper, white and colored office paper, paper bags, and certain types of plastic containers. In Hawai’i, you are only allowed to put plastic containers with plastic codes #1 and #2 in this cart. These items must be clean, and you need to remove all other items—including lids, caps and bags. Do not use this cart for magazines, telephone books, glossy paper, cereal or tissue boxes, drinking glasses, ceramics, window glass, foam, plastic tubs, plastic bags, or plastic toys.
The green cart is used to collect any green waste. This includes grass cuttings, tree and hedge trimmings, garden fruits, vegetables and Christmas trees. Since bags are not allowed in these carts, deposit your green waste directly into the cart as you do any yard work. Everything in the cart must fit with the lid closed, so be sure to cut your branches and flatten what you can. Additional green carts are issued to households based on property size. A property must be at least 10,000 square feet to qualify for a second green, and 15,000 square feet for a third.
When you put the right things in the right cart, you are diverting waste from the landfill and our waterways, while also making Hawai’i a cleaner place. For additional information on Hawai’i’s curbside recycling program and its collection schedules, visit the Department of Environmental Services.