Zero Waste Public Input Meeting in Pahoa… Pictures & Video

“Zero Waste” (Taxonomy) is a philosophy and a way of life that promotes the goal to reduce the amount of material we throw away. Through small shifts in our daily activities, we can greatly reduce how much rubbish we generate, protecting Hawai’i Island’s natural environment, preserving our resources, and saving our community tax dollars.”

Tonight was Pahoa’s turn to have “Public Input” on the Counties Zero Waste Implementation Plan.


I asked Dr. James Weatherford for a brief summary of what Zero Waste meant for Pahoa and this was his response:


The meeting was filled with about 20 – 25 people.  Former Council Bob Jacobson is one of the spearheaders of this plan and he took notes for the group.

Former Councilman Bob Jacobson

Former Councilman Bob Jacobson

Councilwoman Emily Naeole showed up about half way through the meeting because she had prior arrangements, however, legislative aide R.J. Hampton sat in for her and took notes while she was gone.

Legislative Aide RJ Hampton listens to Paul J. Buklarewicz of Recycle Hawaii

Legislative Aide RJ Hampton listens to Paul J. Buklarewicz of Recycle Hawaii

The Mayors office of course is very interested in what is going on these days.

Hunter Bishop, Public Relations Specialist to the Mayor for the County of Hawaii Listens to the Plan

Hunter Bishop, Public Relations Specialist to the Mayor, Listens to the Plan

An example was shown of just how much garbage could actually be reused.

Just some of the tons of rubbish dumped

Just some of the tons of rubbish dumped

Community members were given a chance to give their public input, but many choose to remain quiet.

Community members listen intently

Community members listen intently

Here are some things you can do to reach our Zero Waste goal (from the Hawaii Zero Waste website):

  1. Buy products that can be reused or recycled.
  2. Avoid buying items that are made of or packaged in non-recyclable materials, for example, styrofoam.
  3. Ask your favorite take-out restaurant to use biodegradable containers and utensils. Take them home and compost them.
  4. Products and packaging can be redesigned to use less materials, last longer and not create pollution. Hawai’i residents can choose to buy these products. This will encourage producers to offer products with less overall packaging and use more recyclable and recycled-content materials.
  5. When you go to a store take reusable shopping bags.
  6. Buy products in bulk or with less packaging.
  7. Recycle used materials.
  8. Take your green waste to be made into mulch.

I’m hoping to get the power point presentation mailed to me.  When/if I receive it… I’ll post it then.

BIVN has video of Thursdays Hilo meeting here.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks to everyone for being involved in our meeting. Rene and Starsha, it was great meeting with you both. Glad to hear you’re both so passionate about your community. Even though we don’t live there, Rick and I share your enthusiasm and concerns. We believe everyone should have access to sound resource management programs, designed to improve the environment, stimulate the economy, and instill neighborhood pride. We’re on your side. Our presentation was geared towards outlining the plan we wrote for the County. It’s focused on training, education, outreach and changing policy. Source reduction, or “reduce,” is absolutely at the top of our hierarchy. One of our five “new rules,” Retailer and producer take-back of non-recyclable, non-reusable or non-compostable products and packaging, is an important “reduce” element. We also advocate bringing one’s own bags when shopping, buying in bulk rather than individually packaged goods, avoiding purchase of products excessively packaged or manufacturing by retailers who have sustainable practices, and buying local, among others. These are all source reduction strategies. We apologize if it appeared we had left out “reduce” measures, but I assure you we believe in these more so than any other component of our plan. But again, we were charged to develop new policies and programs to benefit communities like yours, and while, as Rick said, we can’t dictate how many pairs of shoes someone can buy, we can influence the manufacturer to produce them sustainably, and can educate the consumer to enhance environmental sustainability through smart purchasing and supporting businesses that care as much about a community as its dollars. Thanks again for participating in the meeting. In our absence, it’s people like you who will carry the torch and move our proposed programs forward.

  2. I got the bag of rubbish to recycle and I found that only 2% was not recyclable , but was reuseable. Iam now instigating a zero waste program in my own home I will become a model to show other’ s what to do, I have already been speaking with my friends and have asked them to do the same. I feel that this presentation is the “Best” solution for us. It is about time to step up and take responsiblity for what we consume. And about Renee’s commit, Why do you all ways have to fine a negative, point. These people put a lot of energy into this solution. You should be trying to help, not trying to make yourself look good , what’s the point Renee, and incase you have’nt noticed we all have been forced to cut back on everything. I thought that it was a foolish comment and shows who you really are. And he looked that way because he just gave a lengthy presentation. And instead of telling you what he really thought of you he had to be nice. That was what I thought.

  3. Thanks for running this story, Damon, and especially for the “what you can do” list at the end, which addresses some of my concerns about the REDUCE part of the three Rs mantra. We really need to get the tools out there, not only to the general public consumers, but also to retailers, wholesalers, etc. who would all have their own “what you can do lists” that would be appropriate to their operations.

    I remember that at one point (maybe still) HELCO would send out people to businesses to evaluate their energy consumption and recommend changes to reduce it. Perhaps that could be used as a model – a visit from an evaluator to recommend techniques for waste reduction specific to that business. I think many would take advantage of a service like that if it were available – especially if it were free or low cost. Most people want to do the right thing, but often economics vies with altruism and wins.

    Damon – I loved it when you drilled the fellow at the end of his speech about the “where’s the reduce in your speech” comment that you made. He looked like he saw a ghost and I think you really gave him something to think about.

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