By Wendy Osher
Seventy-six percent of all beverage containers sold in Hawai‘i were recycled last year under the state’s HI-5 recycling program. A total of 686 million containers were turned in between July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011.
That’s the same recycling rate as the previous year, but slightly down from the highest rate of 79% reported in 2009.
Under the “HI-5” recycling program, administered by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH), consumers pay 6 cents on each beverage container purchased: a 5-cent deposit is returned to the consumer when the container is recycled, and a 1-cent non-refundable fee covers the cost of recycling.
“The HI-5 program continues to be a great success. The five-cent redemption helps reduce litter at our parks and beaches and has kept billions of bottles and cans out of our garbage,” said Gary Gill, DOH Deputy Director of Environmental Health.
The DOH has also determined that there will be no increase in the 1-cent fee charged on each recyclable beverage container for at least the next 12 months. State law requires the per-container fee to increase from 1 cent to 1.5 cents if the statewide redemption rate exceeds 70%, unless the director of health, in consultation with the state auditor, determines that a fee increase is not needed.
“We will always seek ways to cut administration costs before choosing to implement container fee increases,” said Deputy Director Gill.
Since the inception of the “HI-5” program in 2005, a total of over 4 billion containers have been recycled, with an average of over 3,075 containers recycled per person.
*** Supporting information courtesy State Department of Health.