Waste system hearing tonight

SUBHEAD: It's time to be heard on Kaua`i’s waste system.
By Andrea Brower and Keone Kealoha on 5 May 2009 in Save Kauai - http://savekauai.org Image above: Kauai Council meeting room in the Old County Building. Photo by Juan Wilson. IMPORTANT BUDGET HEARING, WEDNESDAY Start: May 6 2009 - 5:00pm End: May 6 2009 - 8:00pm Council Room Old County Building Rice Street, Lihue, Kauai Aloha Councilmember, Perhaps the most critical decisions facing county government right now have to do with Kaua`i’s waste system. These decisions will effect agriculture, our economy, and the `aina, and will undoubtedly impact many generations to come. Malama Kaua`i opposes any current spending related to Waste to Energy (WTE), and believes that the fast-tracked siting, design, and construction of a Materials Recovery Facility should be a top funding priority. The $385,000 line item related to studying “Waste Reduction” facility ownership options should instead be invested in the infrastructure necessary for a maximum diversion approach, as recommended in the Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) Plan Update. How can we know if it is appropriate to invest in WTE until we have invested in maximum diversion? A “Max 3R” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) approach is more favorable than WTE for many reasons, including: • The capital and operations cost of WTE are much higher than a 3R approach. Hawai`i Island already discovered that WTE is financially impractical – lets learn from them. • WTE offers a small fraction of the jobs that a 3R solution does, and most of the money goes off-island to the developer of the facility. • The county will be required to deliver a minimum tonnage of refuse to the incinerator, or pay the difference - this will discourage maximum diversion and use of our resources. • Our current waste stream is full of resources that are becoming even more valuable as global virgin material sources decline and the price of imports and oil rise. • There are significant environmental concerns with WTE, especially having to do with environmental justice and siting the facility. At the recent Kaua`i Agricultural Forum, the first priority that was identified in the sector Waste and Resource Stream was “compost all organic waste”. Most of you are probably familiar with the fact that Kaua`i’s agricultural industry is highly dependent on imported inputs, and that our volcanic soils are in need of remediation. We must begin to utilize “green waste” by funding programs and infrastructure that enable use of our on-island, valuable resources. WTE will discourage the use of these essential resources. Cutting the funding for the Recycling Coordinator position, the Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics collections programs, and the Backyard Composting effort are all contrary to the ISWM Plan and the favorable Max 3R approach. Lastly, the proposed curbside recycling pilot project will not be successful without a Material Recovery Facility and a Recycling Coordinator. We support Zero Waste Kaua`i’s statement that this pilot project is premature, and we should instead use the allotted equipment and staff to implement curbside greenwaste collection, as we already have the processing capacity on-island. We have an opportunity to develop lasting green jobs, to invest in infrastructure that will enable us to harvest valuable resources, to develop local products and micro-industries from these resources, to support agriculture, and to do what is pono for the `aina. If you have any questions, or are interested in additional data and information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Mahalo,
Andrea Brower and Keone Kealoha

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