Waste plan meetings set for next week

HILO — The county will hold two public hearings next week about proposed updates to its Solid Waste Management Plan.

The newest iteration of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan, which is required to be updated every 10 years, was unveiled in December and makes 82 recommendations for changes to the county’s waste management system.

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Those recommendations range from investing in better waste management facilities and equipment, improving staffing, support for public outreach programs, and other changes meant to reduce the amount of unrecyclable waste generated by the county.

The county’s waste management plan has struggled in recent months, with global recycling markets greatly limiting the amount of recyclable goods, landfill space on the island running out, and county transfer stations constantly out of service.

In 2018, nearly 230,000 tons of waste were sent to county landfills, nearly 75,000 tons more than were sent in 2009.

The Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management invites members of the public to attend two hearings next week and submit feedback on the proposed new plan.

Those hearings will take place Jan. 21 at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo and Jan. 23 at the West Hawaii Civic Center Council Chambers in Kailua-Kona; both meetings will take place from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

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The two public hearings are separate from a series of public information sessions about the county’s solid waste facilities that will be held throughout the next two weeks, although they do overlap: the Hilo hearing begins half an hour before a Honokaa information session, while the Kona hearing overlaps with the session in Mountain View.

The draft plan can be read in full at https://tinyurl.com/ra9naeh. The period for public comment on the plan ends Feb. 4.

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