Malama Maui Nui kicked-off the first week of October with a “Tour De Trash” led by Maui County’s Recycling Coordinator Stacia Ash. During the tour we learned about a variety of recycling methods, practices, purposes and taboos on the island. Here are some highlights from the tour.

The tour started off with a drive through the Maui Landfill where Malama Maui Nui had an up-close look at how the landfill operates before heading into the EKO compost facility. EKO compost has been operating out of the landfill since 1995 and successfully turns our waste into reusable compost. The process is both fascinating and impressive!

From there, we traveled to Hammerhead Metals and watched in awe as an employee smashed a car before turning it into scrap metal. The car, like 90 percent of the vehicles there that day, was an abandoned automobile. Our tour guide later explained to the group the issue of abandoned cars in Hawaii.

The public is encouraged to dispose of their vehicles that are no longer repairable by bringing them into Hammerhead Metals. The company will dispose of them properly for a fee. Abandoning your vehicle is against the law and may result in a fine. Read more about the rules regarding abandoned vehicles here and help keep the aina free from these eyesores!

After the tour of Hammerhead Metals we stopped by the Kea Lani Resort in Wailea. This resort truly values green practices and amazed us with their environmentally-friendly methods.  From their recycled-water system to their farm-to-table menu, the Kea Lani resort definitely focuses on sustainability. One of the most touching parts of the tour included the resort’s “Giving Tree” program where they organize all of their HI-5’s underneath a tree for local schools and organizations to pick-up. All proceeds are then donated to the selected organization(s).  Read more about their green initiatives here.

After a delicious lunch at the resort, we wrapped up the afternoon with visits to the Maui Disposal MRFHabitat for Humanity, and Pacific Biodiesel Technologies. We were so pleased by the efforts of these organizations and came out of the tour with a new awareness regarding Maui County’s waste management practices. We hope our county citizens and politicians continue to engage in meaningful and proactive conversations about the importance of reducing waste on the island.

A big mahalo to all of these companies for taking the time to speak with us and for their contribution to making Maui a healthier and environmentally-friendly place to live!