Hi Friends!

If you have a moment to voice your support, it would make a big difference!  The Wild Kids Activism Committee, with the support of Surfrider and Styrophobia, are submitting an amendment for our City and County Charter (which is essentially the constitution of the City) to require the city to prioritize waste reduction, instead of just waste management. We are scheduled to present on the background of our proposed amendment this Wednesday at the 3:30 pm Charter Council Meeting!!!  Directions for two ways you can support this cause and a quick background are included below.
How to submit testimony/support:
  1. Show up at Honolulu Hale at 3:30 pm this Wednesday 10/28!  We are the last item on the agenda, and don’t know exactly what time we’ll be presenting–but our best guess is around 4:30/5 pm.
  2. Submit Testimony by Wednesday 10/28 at noon to be considered.  Here are the details for how to submit:
  •  Submit written testimony about this agenda item via this link.  To reference, attached is the announcement  for the  City Charter Commission meeting. We are listed as the agenda item “Waste Reduction Coalition”.  Note that you must refer to the specific agenda item in your testimony.  The testimony will be circulated during the meeting and will show the Charter Commission that this topic is something we want to make it onto the voter ballot.  
  • At this point, the most helpful type of testimony includes:
    • Background on how our current waste system is failing
    • Why upstream source reductions are important
    • Why this is a critical topic for the City to address in it’s charter
    • How waste reduction will positively impact the City
    • Thanking the Charter Commission for putting this topic on the agenda
Quick Background:
Right now the City Charter directs the Dept. of Environmental Services to create waste management systems, without a directive to work on reducing the amount of waste we generate (which is the action at the top of the waste hierarchy-reduce/refuse, reuse, the recycle). Because of the City’s agreement with Covanta (the company that runs HPOWER, our trash incineration facility), we actually have to generate more and more trash in order to meet our contract requirements.  If we don’t do this, the City owes Covanta large fines. This  is called at “put or pay contract” and undermines the city’s ability to focus on waste reduction.
This amendment would require the city to start prioritizing waste reduction actions and establish a context from which we can start to renegotiate our relationship with Covanta.  Our goal is to use incineration appropriately, which according to the EPA should only be used as a last resort (above land-filling). Over 100 US communities are already doing (including Austin, Fort Collins, Portland, New York).
Why is waste reduction important? Because we live on a planet of finite resources.  For every 1 ton of items we dispose of, 71 tons of waste have been created upstream (extraction, production, transportation, use). By using materials responsibly, we can preserve the integrity of the delicate planetary systems we all depend on.
Mahalo for your support, and let us know if you have an questions!  For questions, you can contact: Nicole Chatterson (education@oahu.surfrider.org)
Civics IS Sexy (Legislative Workshop coming in January)