Looks like the County of Maui has been quietly “surveying” about Maui residents on whether they’d like to see the 3-Can curbside recycling project expanded island-wide. I put “surveying” in quotes because the actual survey (a copy of which I obtained from a resident) more closely resembles crude propaganda than any sincere effort to poll residents’ views on recycling.
County Communications Director Rod Antone
wasn’t able to respond to our questions on the “survey” by press time said the survey was put together by American Directions Group, a Washington, DC-based firm, and went out to 1,000 residents. Check out these excerpts, taken directly from the “survey:”
- “Adding on a 3-Can Plan service is estimated to cost residents an additional $132 per 6 months (in addition to your current refuse fee of $108) for a total cost of $240 per 6 months for both curbside trash and recycling services. Please understand that if this 3-Can service is implemented, costs may become mandatory for all accounts on a route, not just for those who support it, but also for those who don’t [sic].”
- “Keep in mind that the waste conversion facility is projected to bring the landfill diversion rate to 80%. Our current landfill diversion rate is 38%.”
- “Due to the higher diversion rate of the planned project at no additional cost to residents, the Department of Environmental Management is currently not recommending adding a 3-Can service to your residential refuse service.”
In fact, the “survey” mentions the proposed waste conversion facility and its projected “80%” diversion rate three times. The last of which even includes the statement that “the County of Maui could become a leader in Hawaii and the nation for landfill diversion.”
Subtle, isn’t it? Seriously, this is pretty heavy-handed propaganda.
For instance, think back to February, when County officials announced they were canning the 3-Can pilot program in South Maui (which was always intended to go island-wide, not just invest in $280,000 worth of bins and then run for two years before stopping dead). At that time, officials said that curbside recycling cost each refuse account an additional $5.83 per month. But now this “survey” says that the added cost is actually $22 per month! (Never mind that old spreadsheet I obtained, which had been drawn up by former Maui County Recycling Coordinator Hana Steel and said curbside cost each account a mere $3.65 per month.)
The whole thing is also heavily biased towards maximizing 3-Can rejection in that those who oppose “the addition of this new service and associated costs” need not do anything with the “survey.” All they have to do to say No is throw the thing away. Only those who decide that, in fact, they support “the addition of this new service at a total estimated cost of $240 per 6 months (additional $22 per month added to your existing bill)” need complete the “survey.”
Even if huge numbers of residents respond favorably towards 3-Can, given the “survey’s” obvious biases, would it even matter?
Photo of County of Maui recycling center in Kihei: Sean M. Hower