Honolulu mayor announces contract to recycle ash byproduct

HONOLULU — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a city contract to build a facility to treat and recycle ash in order to prevent it from ending up in Oahu’s landfill.

The contract with Covanta Projects LLC was issued Dec. 7 and will cost roughly $60 million over an 11-year period.

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“As an island with finite natural resources and land, we understand the importance of minimizing the impact from the waste we generate,” Caldwell said in a statement. “Through our investments in the H-POWER plant, including our cutting edge sludge burning facility, we have led the way in recovering value from waste, while minimizing the amount we send to our Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill (WGSL).”

The Honolulu Program of Waste Energy Recovery facility will treat and clean the ash that could potentially be used as construction material. Metals recovered from the ash byproduct could be recycled as well, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The Honolulu Program of Waste Energy Recovery program produces about 180,000 tons (163,293 metric tonnes) of ash which currently goes to the Waimanalo Gulch landfill in Kapolei.

The contract this month would reduce ash by 60%, said Lori Kahikina, director of the Department of Environmental Services.

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Honolulu City Councilwoman Kym Pine, who represents the area where the Honolulu Program of Waste Energy Recovery program and the landfill are located, expressed support of the deal in a statement on Wednesday.

“One of my top priorities has been to close the landfill and the ash was the remaining trash that kept it open on a weekly basis,” Pine said in the statement. “This contract will also relieve the backlog of disposing of abandoned vehicles throughout the city. No community should ever have a landfill again. It is just unconscionable to put toxic trash into the earth on an island.”

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