Green Waste & Food Discards

Green Waste

Organics (biodegradable products like paper products, greenwaste, food waste, and even cardboard) are dumped by the tens of thousands of tons into US landfills. Not only are these organic materials valuable resources diverted from industries that may benefit from these materials, such as agriculture and transportation, but they have a high negative impact on the climate when placed into landfills. These materials comprise more than half of our solid waste composition, and when they are buried in landfills, they begin to decompose anaerobically (without oxygen), causing highly toxic levels of methane, impacting our air quality and climate change. These organic materials can be used to create soil where there is none, improve soil where soil quality is poor, and support our farmers by creating affordable, local products, promoting self-sufficiency and high quality products.

Backyard Composting:
Backyard Composters are available (while supplies last) from Recycle Hawai‘i during their year-round schedule of Composting Workshops. For more information check out our Calendar of Events for upcoming Composting Workshops or go to Recycle Hawai‘i's Backyard Composting webpage.  Or build your own following the easy steps in the Backyard Composting Brochure. Enjoy the benefits of creating quality compost or mulch in your own garden.

Other Composting Resources:

The following are permitted greenwaste recycling operations that will accept various types of greenwaste:

  • Organa Grow, North Hawai‘i/Waimea, 882-7931 (Greenwaste recycling)
  • Big Island Landscaping, North Hawai‘i/Hāwī, 882-1143 (Greenwaste recycling)

 

COUNTY of HAWAI‘I GREENWASTE DIVERSION PROGRAM & LOCATIONS

The County has been providing greenwaste diversion services in both West and East Hawai‘i for over 10 years and has successfully recycled over 278,000 tons in the past 7 years.  However, another approximately 185,000 tons was being dumped in the landfills during this same period or an estimated 40% of the total greenwaste generated.

Greenwaste is a resource for making valuable mulch and compost.  Our goal is to increase our greenwaste and organic waste diversion and the County’s approved Integrated Resources and Solid Waste Management Plan (IRSWMP) recommended expanding greenwaste operations.  Starting in January 2013, the County will be offering new and improved greenwaste services that will help the County increase recycling and preserve its valuable resources for future generations.

For information on mulch scroll to the middle of the page or click this link: Mulch Pick-Up and Loading Information.

CURRENT GREENWASTE DROP-OFF locationS & HOURS OF OPERATION

Households, businesses, government agencies & non-profits should bring tree trimmings, grass clippings, brush and yard clippings (complete list) to one of the County's greenwaste processing areas. 

West Hawai‘i: The main facility is located at the West Hawai‘i Organics Facility (WHOF), adjacent to the West Hawai‘i Sanitary Landfill in Pu‘uanahulu.  Operating hours for the WHOF are from 7:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.  The other location for West Hawai‘i is at the Kealakehe Recycling and Transfer Station, adjacent to the rubbish chutes. Operating hours for the Kealakehe Greenwaste chute are daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  See next section for more information.

East Hawai‘i:  The main facility is located at the East Hawai‘i Organics Facility (EHOF), located adjacent to the Hilo Recycling and Transfer Station.  Operating hours are daily from 6:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (CLOSED 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily effective November 16, 2013See next section for more information.

*For Residents Only:  Alternative greenwaste drop-off is available for residents only at the following East Hawai‘i County Recycling and Transfer Stations located in Kea‘au and Pāhoa.  Operating hours are daily from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  For West Hawai‘i, the Ke‘ei Recycling & Transfer Station greenwaste drop-off is open on Sundays, Tuesdays & Fridays only from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the Puakō Recycling & Transfer Station greenwaste drop-off is open on Sundays only from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 *These facilities can accept self-hauled greenwaste from households only.  No businesses (including commercial landscapers and haulers), farms, government agencies or non-profits allowed by law.

Holiday Closure Schedule:  All County of Hawai‘i Solid Waste Division Facilities are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Year's Day.

For a map and directions to the nearest organics acceptance facility please see the Map & Directions to Solid Waste Division Facilities.

The COUNTY's NEW GREENWASTE PROGRAM !

The County opened the new West Hawai‘i Organics Facility (WHOF) located adjacent to the West Hawai‘i Sanitary Landfill in Pu‘uanahulu on January 2, 2013.  This Facility will accept greenwaste and untreated/unpainted wood pallets from businesses and residents.  The materials will be weighed at the County Scales.  This facility also provides free mulch and free mechanical loading assistance.  In the future, the West Hawai‘i Organics Facility will be able to accept other organic materials such as food and paper, helping to prolong the life of our landfill.  For more information on the changes in the Program please read our West Hawai‘i Greenwaste Program Frequently Asked Questions.

West Hawai‘i Organics Facility (WHOF) Customer Procedures

  1. Starting January 2, 2013 all greenwaste drop-off and mulch pick up customers at the WHOF must drive up to the County Scale. 
  2. Vehicles will be weighed and an authorized pass will be given to each customer.  Scale Attendants will give directions to customers to drive to the WHOF entrance.
  3. A WHOF Yard Manager will receive and log the pass from the customer, they will also screen all incoming loads for contaminants and direct vehicles to the appropriate area within the WHOF.  No entry will be granted to customers without the authorized pass.
  4. Mulch customers can choose to self load or request assisted mechanical loading.  There are no mulch or mulch loading fees.  Mulch is available on a first-come-first-served & while supplies last basis during normal operating hours.
  5. Customers will need to return to the Scale to weigh out.  There are currently no greenwaste disposal tip fees.
  6. The hours of operation for the WHOF is 7:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Closed Sundays.

All business, government agency and non-profit agency greenwaste customers must have a Solid Waste Disposal Permit by April 1, 2013.  Applications are available from the Scalehouse, the Department of Environmental Management Administrative Office or download this form.  There is an annual permit fee of $25.

Kealakehe Recycling & Transfer Station Customer Procedures

The new greenwaste chute at the Kealakehe Recycling and Transfer Station is OPEN!

  1. All greenwaste drop-off at Kealakehe is next to the rubbish chutes.  Material must be less than 18 inches in diameter and less than 5 feet in length prior to arriving at the site. 
  2. Mulch pick up customers at Kealakehe must drive to the Former Mulch Public Pick-up Area.
  3. Please follow the signs or the Solid Waste Facility Attendant's directions to the proper area to drop-off greenwaste and to the mulch loading area.
  4. Starting January 2, 2013 greenwaste drop-off at the Kealakehe Recycling & Transfer Station will be restricted to only residential generated self-haul customers and Business/Agency customers with Type I or Type II vehicles (under 20,000# GVW and less than 6 cubic yard loads).  Business/Agency customers with types of vehicles (greater than 20,000# GVW) or greenwaste loads greater than 6 cubic yards will be directed to the West Hawai‘i Organics Facility at Pu‘uanahulu.
  5. Starting January 2, 2013 free mulch will be available for customers who are willing to  self load.  Assisted mechanical loading will no longer be available.  Mulch is available on a first-come-first-served & while supplies last basis during normal operating hours.
  6. The hours of operation for the Kealakehe Greenwaste Facility are 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  7. There are currently no greenwaste disposal fees.

All business, government agency and non-profit agency greenwaste customers to the Kealakehe Greenwaste Facility must have a Solid Waste Disposal Permit by April 1, 2013.  Applications are available from the Pu‘uanahulu Scalehouse, the Department of Environmental Management Administrative Office or download this form.  There is an annual permit fee of $25.

East Hawai‘i Organics Facility (EHOF) Customer Procedures 

The East Hawai‘i Organics Facility is located in the same location as the former Hilo Greenwaste Mulching Facility

  1. Starting January 30, 2013 all greenwaste drop-off and mulch pick up customers (residential, commercial and agency) to the EHOF must drive to the Sort Station Scalehouse. 
  2. All vehicles will be weighed and an authorized pass will be given to each customer.  Scale Attendants will give directions to customers to drive to the EHOF entrance. 
  3. An EHOF Yard Manager will receive and log the pass from the customer, they will also screen all incoming loads for contaminants and direct vehicles to the appropriate area within the EHOF.  No entry will be granted to customers without the authorized pass.
  4. Mulch customers can choose to self load or request assisted mechanical loading.  There are no mulch fees or mulch loading fees.  Mulch is available on a first-come-first-served & while supplies last basis during normal operating hours.
  5. All customers (residential, commercial and agency) will need to return to the Scale to weigh out.  There are currently no greenwaste disposal tip fees.
  6. The hours of operation for the EHOF are 6:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (CLOSED 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily effective November 16, 2013)

All business, government agency and non-profit agency greenwaste customers to the East Hawai‘i Organics Facility must have a Solid Waste Disposal Permit by April 1, 2013.  Applications are available from the Sort Station Scalehouse, the Department of Environmental Management Administrative Office or download this form.  There is an annual permit fee of $25.

*For Residents Only:  Alternative greenwaste drop-off is available for residents only at the following East Hawai‘i County Recycling and Transfer Stations located in Kea‘au and Pāhoa.  Operating hours are daily from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  For West Hawai‘i, the Ke‘ei Recycling & Transfer Station greenwaste drop-off is open on Sundays, Tuesdays & Fridays only from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the Puakō Recycling & Transfer Station greenwaste drop-off is open on Sundays only from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 *These facilities can accept self-hauled greenwaste from households only.  No businesses (including commercial landscapers and haulers), farms, government agencies or non-profits allowed by law.

Holiday Closure Schedule:  All County of Hawai‘i Solid Waste Division Facilities are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Year's Day.


On January 2, 2013
a new vendor assumed operations of the West and East Hawai‘i Organics Facilities, the new company is Hawaiian Earth Products (better known by their Menehune Magic line of soil improvement products).  They can be contacted via phone (808-935-2277), email (gotcompost@menehunemagichawaii.com) or website (http://menehunemagichawaii.com/locations/hawaiian-earth-products-big-island).

For a map and directions to the nearest organics acceptance facility please see the Map & Directions to Solid Waste Division Facilities.

We appreciate your kōkua as we transition to a new system.

Acceptable & Not Acceptable organics/greenwaste

These items are NOT Accepted. Please make every effort to keep them out:

  • garbage bags and rubbish
  • lumber including sawdust
  • plastics
  • rocks & dirt
  • glass
  • metal
  • treated or painted pallets (identified by paint or tinted wood color)
  • invasive species of any kind (plant or animal)
  • logs, branches or other material in excess of 18 inches in diameter or 5 feet in length (must be reduced in size prior to arrival at our facility)

These items ARE accepted:

  • palm fronds
  • tree and hedge cuttings
  • grass clippings
  • untreated and unpainted wood pallets
  • logs, branches or other material less than 18 inches in diameter or 5 feet in length

MULCH PICK-UP & LOADING - NEW!

Free mulch is available on a first-come-first-served & while supplies last basis during normal hours of operation at the Kealakehe Mulch Public Pick-up Area, the West Hawai‘i and East Hawai‘i Organics Facilities.  Please call 935-2277 for more information on mulch availability at the West Hawai‘i & East Hawai‘i Organics Facilities.  There is no informational number for mulch availability at the Kealakehe Mulch Public Pick-up Area.

Location Days & Hours of Operation Mulch Availability? Mechanized Loading Assistance of Mulch? Mulch Fees Contact Info
Kealakehe Mulch Public Pick-up Area Daily - 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. When available, first-come-first-served & while supplies last basis. No. Manual self-loading
only. No private mechanized loading equipment allowed. Bring your pitchfork or shovel and tarp.
Currently none. N/A
West Hawai‘i Organics Facility (at Pu‘uanahulu) Monday through Saturday - 7:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. When available, first-come-first-served & while supplies last basis. Call 935-2277. Yes. Assisted mechanical
loading available on an equipment & time permitting basis. There may be a
short wait period for assisted loading. Self-loading also available; bring your
pitchfork or shovel and tarp.
Currently no mulch or mulch loading fees.
Customers must weigh in and weigh out via County Scale.
935-2277
East Hawai‘i Organics Facility (in Hilo) Daily - 6:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (Closed 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily) When available, first-come-first-served &
while supplies last basis. Call 935-2277.
Yes. Assisted mechanical
loading available on an equipment & time permitting basis. There may be a short wait period for assisted loading. Self-loading also available; bring your pitchfork or shovel and tarp.
Currently no mulch or mulch loading fees.
Customers must weigh in and weigh out via County Scale.
935-2277

To abide by road regulations, please remember to bring a pitchfork/shovel and tarp to properly cover truckloads of mulch. (HRS §291C-131)

Holiday Closure Schedule:  All County of Hawai‘i Solid Waste Division Facilities are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Year's Day.

INVASIVE SPECIES INFORMATION

You can help prevent the spread of invasive species (plant or animal) by checking your greenwaste prior to transport and making sure you do not bring any invasive species to our facilities. For more information on Hawai‘i's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants or Hawaiian Invasive Species Council or check the Big Island Invasive Species Committee Brochure for a listing of invasive plants click on the links.

untreated/unpainted wooden pallet & palm fronds and other greenwasteNOTE: Notice (2009-04-01): The State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) recently surveyed (2009-03-18) the Hilo Greenwaste Mulching Facility and detected Little Fire Ants (LFA) along the perimeter of the facility. None were detected in the mulch, in the greenwaste piles or at the Kealakehe Greenwaste Mulching Facility.

The County of Hawai‘i and Big Island EKO Systems with the assistance of the Dept of Agriculture implemented a LFA control management plan for the Hilo Greenwaste Facility to prevent the spread of this invasive pest.

2009-08-31 Update: EKO Systems performed another follow-up survey of the site before the grinder returned and they did not detect any LFA on the premises, only non-LFA were detected in the survey. We will continue to implement the periodic baiting and spraying regimen to kill the LFA on our site and form a buffer zone to those encroaching from the adjoining property and conduct follow-up surveys.

You can help prevent the spread of the Little Fire Ant by making sure the greenwaste you bring to our sites is free of the LFA pest. Please read the LFA brochure produced by the UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources (CTAHR) and HDOA. This brochure lists control methods for your property and HDOA contact information to report infestations. Also visit the Hawai‘i Ant Lab website for more information on managing invasive ant species, it is a project of the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit of the University of Hawai‘i. We have created a flyer that has additional info on our Hilo site control plan. If you observe Little Fire Ants in the mulch at the Hilo Greenwaste Mulching Facility please contact site personnel immediately, do not remove the mulch from the Facility. Please, do not touch them.

We appreciate your kōkua in helping to stop the spread of this invasive pest.

FOOD DISCARDS

gusanito worm binAbout 40% of consumable food in the US is discarded. One of the best ways to reduce discards is to shop smarter, keep produce fresher and reduce wasted food, check out the Food: Too Good to Waste website for more information and tips.  In order to recover these valuable resources, food waste can be composted into your compost machine along with your green waste.

Another solution for food discards, particularly if you have little or no outdoor space to set up a backyard composter, is through vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is a compost system that uses a heterogenous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste and bedding materials, like shredded paper or cardboard. Pure vermicast (or worm castings) produced during the course of normal vermiculture operations is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by some species of earthworm. Containing water-soluble nutrients and bacteria, vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.

There are vermicompost bins available on island:

Green Room
(808)987-3731, zaryan@mac.com
Residential worm bins

HawaiiRainbowWorms.com
piper_selden@yahoo.com
For large-scale worm bins or compost tea brewers

For commercial food discard service, businesses and restaurants located in Kona can contact Waiaha Farms at (808)756-7945 or email info@waiahafarms.com for more information.

USED COOKING OIL & FOGs (Fats, oils, greases)

Did you know that your used or waste veggie oil and your FOGs can be reused as biodiesel to run your vehicle? To learn more about how to produce biodiesel for your household use, visit the following resources:

DIY Biodiesel Fuel (includes video)
How To Make Your Own Biodiesel or Find It Nearby
Biodiesel: How It's Made, Environmental Impact, Where to Find a Fueling Station, & More
How To Make Biodiesel

The following are permitted businesses to handle pick up and disposal of used cooking oil and/or FOGs:

For very small quantities (< 1 gallon) of used cooking oil from your own kitchen, you may solidify by means of an absorbent material (old/shredded newspaper, rags, kitty litter or oil spill absorbent) and then dispose with your regular trash. It must be completely absorbed (not liquid) before disposal; freezing it doesn't count. Used cooking oil is not considered a Household Hazardous Waste and will not be accepted at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events.

AttachmentSize
Facts of Composting and Burning 2006 - RH.pdf 928.78 KB
HILO LFA flyer 2009-04-06 - web.pdf 92.3 KB

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