Recent shutdown of recycling redemption centers catch many by surprise

The state’s HI-5 program was meant to be an incentive to recycle, but that’s getting a lot harder to do.

Several viewers reached out to us using the Report It feature on our website, saying several recycling redemption centers have recently closed down.

More than 900 million beverage containers are sold annually in Hawaii. Consumers pay five cents per container, but get the money back if they recycle.

The recent closures have caught many by surprise.

Moiliili resident Robert Tateishi says he recycles $60 worth of cans and bottles every month.

“I do it for my son for a better future,” he said.

But lately, Tateishi noticed several redemption centers have closed.

“The other day, I came with my goods. I walked quite awhile, had to turn around and take back my goods,” he told KHON2. “If they close up, what are we going to do for the environment, for the future?”

We reached out to the health department, which oversees the state’s redemption centers. We learned 19 centers on Oahu, one on Lanai, and one on Kauai have closed within the last year.

Office of Solid Waste Management coordinator Darren Park says it is still paying the centers, and “everything is business as usual, but we do understand the redemption centers are under pressure.”

Park says “lower scrap values” and “rent increase” are to blame for the closures.

He adds that Reynolds Recycling, which closed the most centers, asked for an increase in pay to help move recyclables off island.

Park says it would cost $6.5 million. “We just cannot afford it. Our revenue will not cover that increase in our expenditures,” he explained.

So what does that mean for recyclers?

“There are plenty of people who recycle. We all need the money. It really helps them out financially,” said Tateishi.

Unfortunately, “redemption may not be as convenient as it used to be,” Park said.

But he says the state is working with private land owners to look for affordable, available land that redemption centers can operate on.

“That’s the key, where can you locate a redemption center in your neighborhood?” Park said.

List of redemption center closures:

2015

Oahu

  • Reynolds, South Street
  • Reynolds, Waianae Boat Harbor
  • Reynolds, Hauula
  • Reynolds, Wahiawa Olive
  • Reynolds, Palama
  • ICR, Waialae
  • Reynolds, Waikiki
  • Reynolds, Kahuku
  • Reynolds, Kalama
  • Reynolds, Kaneohe
  • Reynolds, Nanakuli
  • Reynolds, Stadium
  • Reynolds, Waipahu
  • Reynolds, Dillingham
  • Reynolds, Kapalama/Sand Island
  • RRR, Ewa Beach
  • Goodwill, Beretania
  • Goodwill Wahiawa

Lanai

  • Maui Disposal, Lanai City

2016

Oahu

  • Reynolds, Waimanalo

Kauai

  • Reynolds, Lawai

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