HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new measure introduced in the Hawaii State House of Representatives could put an end to HI-5 recycling.
When you buy a drink with a plastic bottle, you pay 6 cents. When you recycle it at a Hi-5 Recycling Center you get 5 cents back and a cent goes back to the program. Under the new measure, you’ll no longer have to pay the extra 6 cents, but won’t be able to get money for recycling either.
Rep. Roy Takumi, who introduced the measure, created it after hearing from older constituents about the difficulties of transporting recyclables.
“You have to bring the containers to the recycling center, and for a lot of seniors that’s a big challenge. So they just end up throwing it into the blue bin,” said Takumi. “And then coupled with the fact that many seniors are on fixed income, so every little bit helps.”
He said, with blue recycling bins at most homes on Oahu, there’s really no need to incentivize recycling.
“If you already have a way in which people can easily recycle containers, it begs the question, is it a continued need to have a redemption program?”Rep. Roy Takumi
However, some folks say Takumi’s proposal might have negative impacts for some seniors instead.
“[For] some neighbors, it is a way for them to supplement their income They will ask their neighbors for their bottled waters and recyclables, and they’ll go down to the hi-5 to you know get some extra income out of it,” said Christina Doane, an Oahu resident.
Others say doing away with the fee could also have an impact on recycling.
“I feel like the HI-5 program is, you know, a big incentive to actually recycle, so I do feel like we’re going to see a lot more plastic waste,” said Erin Hickok, an Oahu resident.
Rep. Takumi said hopefully this new idea can help create new ideas for recycling.
“I just felt 10 years after the blue bin program has been implemented, maybe its time to have a discussion,” said Takumi.
Takumi said if his bill passes, counties could still enact their own fees and recycling laws.