We can express our mālama ka ʻāina, caring for our land, by responsibly disposing of things we can no longer use. Yet cost and inconvenience can pose barriers to many.
Last year, Hawai`i passed Act 151, which enables recycling of eligible electronic devices at no cost to all owners, whether residents, schools, non-profits, government agencies or businesses. Funded by the manufacturers of electronic devices, the program sets recycling targets and incentives for manufacturers, and ensures Neighbor Islands like Hawai`i Island have convenient options.
The program started on January 1st of this year, and already the first two months saw an increase of three times the weight collected during the same time last year, up to 171,378 pounds, compared to only 57,087 last year.
Removing the barrier of cost burst open some storage rooms. One agency has already brought in over 20,000 pounds of e-waste, which they had been holding onto for over 10 years. Act 151 has already saved them over $11,000.
Evan Takita of the IT Department recalls a large cathode-ray TV in a solid wood console that was unloaded from the back of a truck by two young men. "It must have weighed at least a hundred pounds," Evan noted. One of the men said it was his grandmother's, and that they'd finally gotten around to hauling it in because of the free recycling program. "They couldn't believe they didn't have to pay," said Evan. "A lot of people are thankful."