- Hawaii recycling centers are rejecting as many as 1.2 million plastic water bottles, which residents bought from Costco to stock up before a hurricane. The containers lack the required HI-5 labels signifying they qualify for Hawaii's Deposit Beverage Container Program. The program typically returns a 5-cent deposit on these containers.
- Costco incurred a $16,000 fine for improper labeling, and consumers now have to return the unlabeled bottles to the stores where they bought them. If they have a receipt only, Costco will likely reimburse them, State Health Department Steve Chang said, as reported in KITV4.
- Meanwhile, Hawaii encourages people to keep recycling properly labeled bottles, launching a site that locates HI-5 recycling centers and hours of operation.
Through Hawaii's Deposit Beverage Container (DBC) program, residents have recycled over 7 billion containers since January 2005. Many residents find this means to divert from waste streams easy and economically worthwhile seeing that DBC-certified recycling centers have ample supply of reusable, marketable materials.
According to the local health department, there are 20 redemption centers on Hawaii. Consumers can figure out what qualifies by the HI 5-cent label on glass, plastic, and metal containers — at least when they don't run into snags such as the Costco mishap. However the state is facing another challenge that's extended beyond a one-time beverage container problem: dwindling recycling centers for redemption of containers.
24 of the area's recycling centers have shut down since last October. Reynolds Recycling, among the largest, closed 19 centers, leaving 40 workers unemployed.
Meanwhile, while the island continues to boost recycling, more efforts are underway to fortify existing environmental measures in Hawaii and other Pacific regions, with one new ambitious plan to tackle accumulating marine pollution from Hawaii to California.