- Hawaii County is seeking a permit from the state's Department of Health for a $10.5 million composting facility, which will be the first full-scale facility in the state, as reported by the Hawaii Tribune Herald.
- The privately operated facility will process approximately 28,000 tons of organic material per year with plans to expand capacity to 35,000 tons within the next 10 years. The final compost product will be sold at market rates.
- Officials aim to begin construction in April 2017 and have the facility operational by summer 2018.
According to a draft environmental assessment for the project, organic material made up 54% of local waste when measured in 2009. The compost facility would be located near the existing landfill — which is nearing capacity within three years — and is seen as a way to help ease the strain of its closure. This facility would complement the county's existing mulch program which processes about 40,000 tons of yard waste per year.
Organics diversion won't be mandatory, but officials plan to offer lower tipping fees for the material to entice residents and businesses into participating. Mulch made from the existing yard waste operation is currently free for residents and would remain so once the composting facility opened. The county has been setting diversion goals since at least 2003 and this project could help finally make them a reality.
While landfill capacity isn't an imminent concern on Hawaii's largest island, other efforts are also underway to divert more waste. The company BioEnergy Hawaii plans to build a $50 million resource recovery facility which it says could divert 70% of waste from the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill. If all permits are approved, that facility could be operational by 2019.