WAILUKU - How do you redirect the mindset towards recycling, reusing, repurposing, repairing and reducing?
"There's no easy answer," Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran advised the Lahaina News, "except to continue with education and awareness.
"It starts with the younger generation. The schools need to become more active in the process. As they grow up, it becomes a habit."
County Recycling Specialist Irene Cordell is both passionate and practical about the subject.
"We need to reuse things; we need to reduce what we're taking in initially. People just need to stop buying a lot of things with a lot of packaging that's just filling up our land space, which we have very little of," the 16-year county veteran said.
"We educate the resident to become a smart consumer," she suggested, "by giving them tools on how to purchase products that have little or no impact on the environment."
Cordell had a list of eight easy-to-follow helpful hints to become consumer chic: "Bring reusable bags to the store with you; buy large quantities; buy products with the least amount of packaging or none at all; don't buy disposable items; buy less paper towels and napkins or none at all, use cloth ones; buy long life and concentrated items; don't purchase Styrofoam; and buy items packaged or made from recyclable material."
Educating the community is another facet of the process, she said. Cordell offered ways to get the message out through radio and print advertising and public service announcements; posters in stores and shopping areas; social media, telephone apps and Facebook; and in-store ads and shelf talkers.
The county recently published an updated Recycling Guide (Fall 2012), "where you can find good information on how, where and when to reuse and recycle items, dispose of trash and even make a little money in the process," wrote Mayor Alan M. Arakawa in the publication's opening message.
Convenience is a major factor in bolstering community participation, and the handbook lists conveniently located recycling opportunities on the West Side from Olowalu to Napili and some places in between.
Drop box recycling includes newspapers, aluminum and metal cans, glass bottles and jars, cardboard and paper bags and plastic containers (1 and 2 only).
The Olowalu Recycling and Refuse Convenience Center, open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., is a drop box and green waste site. Additionally, it offers the opportunity to discard refuse, used motor oil, batteries and tires.
Maui Disposal has two drop box locations on the West Side. The drop box and HI-5 Redemption site at 275 Lahainaluna Road is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Its location in Napili is mauka of Honoapiilani Highway at the old Maui Land & Pineapple Co. Inc. base yard. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Maui Disposal site also participates in the HI-5 Redemption Program.
Places to dispose of household batteries include Ace Hardware (Dickenson Square), Long's Drugs (Lahaina Cannery Mall), Napili Market (Napili Plaza) and Aloha Clean Pro Supply (Kahana Gateway Center). Aloha Clean Pro Supply also recycles empty domestic cleaning product containers.
State law requires stores that sell auto, marine and vehicle batteries to accept used ones when new ones are purchased. The same is required for establishments that sell tires; however, a fee may be charged. The guidebook recommends, "Call stores first for store policies."
NAPA in Lahaina at 1058 Limahana Place accepts used motor oil. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Lahaina Gateway Office Max accepts all toner cartridges.
"Food scraps, yard trimmings, shredded paper, and junk mail can be composted at home," the guide advises.
Home composting workshops and information are available at joyofworms.com or 573-3911.
Condominium participation in recycling programs is minimal, said county Recycling Coordinator Hana Steel.
"In order to have condominium recycling, there has to be an extensive education program; and that's where the county can help. We can help with the education program for any condominium that wants to implement recycling," she said.
"We don't have anything planned, but we are available and will assist any condominium with their education program or recycling. They just have to contact us."
The website is www.mauicounty.gov/recycle or call 270-7847.
"We want to encourage the West Maui community to recycle and thank them for their participation," Steel added.
Next in the Series: Take the bus.