By Kristin Kubat
As anyone who knows me will confirm, if I thought the Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management was about to screw up, I would be the first to get her knickers in a twist. So take it as a good sign that recent changes to greenwaste processing on the Kona side have me feeling quite comfortable in my beebedees. I encourage everyone who lives in the area to please read on in order to increase their own comfort level.
If you are a resident headed to Kealakehe Recycling & Transfer Station with a small load of greenwaste you will experience little change. Your waste will be processed in a different site in the same general area and there are signs and an attendant to help you end up in the right place. If you are disposing greenwaste for a business or agency and your vehicle is a Type I or Type II vehicle, under 20,000# GVW and you have less than six cubic yards of waste, you can also use this new site, but after March 31st of this year, you will need a Solid Waste Disposal Permit to continue using this or any public facilities for greenwaste disposal. Permit applications are available at the Pu‘uanahulu Scalehouse, the DEM administrative office or electronically at the DEM website; the annual permit fee is $25. This new area is also where folks can pick-up free mulch but there is no longer assisted mechanical loading at Kealakehe. The hours of operation are 6:00 AM to 6PM, daily.
Kona residents and businesses/agencies with more greenwaste or bigger vehicles must take their loads to the new site at Puuanahulu, known henceforth as the West Hawaii Organics Facility (WHOF). Here the same permit requirements will be enforced after March 31st and the operation is a little more complicated. Everyone will be required to drive up to the scalehouse to get weighed and receive a pass. A yard manager inside the facility will take and log each pass, screen vehicles for contaminants and send everyone to the right area for drop-off or pick-up. This is the only place in West Hawaii where folks can get assisted mechanical loading for free mulch. The WHOF operating hours are 7:00 AM to 4:15 PM, Monday through Friday. (Holiday closures for either site are always Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.)
Contrary to the rumor mill, there are no tipping fees in effect at either site.
Alternative greenwaste drop-off is available for West Hawaii residents only at the following county recycling and transfer stations: At Ke‘ei, on Sundays, Tuesdays & Fridays from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM; at Puakō on Sundays only from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. These facilities are for self-hauled greenwaste from households only. No businesses (including commercial landscapers and haulers), farms, government agencies or non-profit agencies will be allowed to use them.
Next month: Changes to organics processing in East Hawaii and what the future holds for expanding the collection of organics.