Community collaborates to hold monthly Go Green Recycling
LAHAINA — Recycling is a community collaboration of the “nth” degree — a gathering of forces to do the right thing. It’s not an easy task to coordinate all the moving parts into a well-oiled, efficient success; it is complicated. Flexibility, education, accountability and patience are important values that have fostered the West Maui stewardship program forward.
Plus, there has been a diverse mix of steadfast partnerships forged over the years that has helped fuel its growth through all manner of challenges, among them change of location, name, type of items recycled and COVID-19.
Island nonprofit Malama Maui Nui (MMN) is currently in the lead.
Annalea Fink is the resourceful and determined program director of the organization founded in 1991.
According to its online presence, MalamaMauiNui.org has a lofty vision: “At Malama Maui Nui, we believe we share the kuleana to care for our island environment and abide by the true spirit of aloha ‘aina. No single entity can do it alone; it takes a community — everyone lives, works, plays or otherwise has a connection to Maui Nui — to educate, collectively adopt and put into practice the many ways we can malama ‘aina.”
Celebrating a diversity of environmental achievements, MMN hosts the monthly Go Green Recycling on the West Side in support of its mission.
Go Green Recycling is a volunteer-driven, appointment-based, strictly bulky item-only recycling opportunity. Visit MalamaMauiNui.org/GoGreen to request an appointment.
West Side residents are able to take advantage of this cost-effective and responsible convenience right in their own backyard rather than crossing the Pali to dispose of the bulky items where the only on-island recycling facilities of this kind are located.
The correct reclamation of these large throwaways is considered vital to our delicate eco-system: “Unlike small recyclable goods (cans, glass, etc.), proper disposal of large bulky items (such as refrigerators, stoves, electronics, etc.) is mandated by government agencies due to their potential harmful effects to humans and to the environment if not disposed of responsibly,” Fink wrote to the Lahaina News.
In 2020, Go Green Recycling, launched in 2015, was cancelled due to COVID-19 during the months of March, April and May.
In June, the program was reinstated and is now appointment-required, “which allows us to provide clear communication and health and safety instructions to participants and maintain a safe number of people at the event at any given time,” Fink advised.
“We now have heightened health and safety measures, such as a contact tracing system, including temperature checks, required masks, social distancing and increased sanitization protocols for common areas and equipment,” Fink added.
The next Go Green Recycling event is slated for Saturday, Feb. 20, at its current location at 1870 Honoapiilani Highway, in the mauka parking lot behind Lahaina District Court.
Visit MalamaMauiNui.org/GoGreen for a list of accepted items, future Go Green Recycling dates, FAQs and to submit an Appointment Request Form.
Go Green Recycling is a cooperative event; it embodies the essence of laulima, many hands working together.
The forging of partnerships during the past decade, or so, has been crucial to the smooth operation of these time-tested stewardship efforts.
“This event is made possible by community volunteers, local businesses and Malama Maui Nui partners; Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset, 5A Rent-A-Space and the County of Maui -Division of Environmental Protection & Sustainability,” MMN noted.
Community dynamite Liz May of 5A Rent-A-Space is a West Side Go Green Recycling quarterback. She has been connected through her place of business, offering free electronic recycling at the Honokowai storage facility, and as a hands-on, hardcore Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset leader since 2014.
May is fueled by a go-volunteer gene in her blood; she promotes recognition for her compatriots on the recycling front.
“It is the community volunteers that make each event happen every month, as we could not do it without the time and effort and passion they have invested,” she said.
The county Department of Housing and Human Concerns’ Volunteer Center also acknowledges the outstanding individuals that take the time to go the extra mile as Volunteer Heroes.
MMN volunteer Yvette Celiz was recognized as a Volunteer Hero in 2020 and was also a member of the important West Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee.
Fink observed, “When Celiz learned of monthly volunteer opportunities at Go Green Recycling, she jumped right on board and has not missed an opportunity to support her community since!”
She is motivated.
“Recycling is so much more than the blue bin. Volunteering at Go Green Recycling gives community members an inside look into the process by which our resources are managed,” she said.
Angel Currier, a consistent MMN volunteer, is of the same mind: positive and optimistic.
“I believe when people are given the opportunity to do the right thing, they will. The monthly Go Green Recycling event led by Malama Maui Nui provides this opportunity. Go Green Recycling is critical in keeping our community inspired to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, for the benefit of future generations and for the love of the ‘aina,” Currier explained.
“It is important for West Maui residents to continue to voice the need for funding and location for a bulky item recycling program, so that the community has convenient accessibility to recycling options into perpetuity,” Fink stated.
For more information about Go Green Recycling and to request an appointment, visit MalamaMauiNui.org/GoGreen.