- The Hawaii Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision that ending free trash collection at a certain group of locations violated civil service law.
- The United Public Workers union sued the city of Honolulu last year after plans were announced to begin charging for collection at 181 churches, nonprofits, and condominiums.
- The city has said the proposed $10 per month fee was necessary to cover needed vehicle upgrades. Honolulu's fleet currently has seven aging front-end loader trucks.
Union officials were concerned that the new fee system would be a step toward privatizing waste collection, but the city countered that this shift was only fair because many condo buildings already pay for waste collection. Also, without the new fee system, the city does not have a solution for replacing old trucks.
"I might have to do an emergency procurement because we can't not pick up the trash. We have to find another way whether it's emergency procurement or not," said Lori Kahikina, director of the Department of Environmental Services, to KITV.
While Honolulu has been dealing with the politics of recycling subsidies and union disputes, the state of Hawaii is involved in much larger issues. Concerns over Dengue fever have led to increased collection of tires and extended transfer station hours. Additionally, a new report from the University of Hawaii showed that the state is wasting 26% of its food supply every year.
As limited landfill space becomes an issue, the state is looking at possible expansions and also embracing waste-to-energy. Some experts even think energy recovery should be emphasized over recycling. Hawaii aims to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045.