- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2017

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim has moved to end a contract with Hawaiian Earth Recycling regarding the county’s organic waste diversion program.

A Friday statement from the mayor’s office says the service agreement for the program will be terminated June 30, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2lxKUnX).

Kim said he supports composting and its role on the Big Island, but cited cost as a reason to end the contract.

“The two areas of concern were the financial commitments of the county, and the limited nature of the contract regarding composting,” Kim said.

The mayor discussed scrapping plans to build a $10.3 million composting facility laid out in last year’s agreement earlier this month.

The facility would have processed 28,000 tons of organic waste in its first year of operation and reached 35,000 tons by the tenth year, according to the project’s draft environmental assessment.

Under the contract, the county is also required to pay for the production of mulch from green waste and more nutrient-rich compost made from food scraps and other organic sources.

The county is paying about $85 or $100 per ton, depending on where the mulch is produced, up from about $42 and $45 per ton last year. The county has paid a total of $1.7 million for mulching operations since the fiscal year began July 1.

Kim has instructed the county Environmental Management Department to develop a plan to have mulching operations continue with a new contract.

“The goal is to have a seamless operational transfer of the very successful mulching operation,” said William Kucharski, the department’s director.

The mayor wants to ensure there is a significant reduction in waste disposal and an increase in overall recycling and material use, Kucharski said.


Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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