Since the Bottle Bill’s implementation in January, recycling has moved to the forefront of Maui’s collective social conscience. The bill encourages us to recycle our aluminum, glass and plastic bottles with necks at redemption centers. But that’s all it does—encourage. Ultimately, recycling is left to individuals and local companies.
I recently asked Maui Recycling Group Executive Director Wilma Nakamura who she thought was the best business recycler on Maui. Without hesitation, she said Four Star Mortgage in Kahului.
“People who recycle have a more expanded vision of the world and feel responsible for the garbage they produce and about their [role] in actively supporting the community,” Nakamura said. “People like David [McCreight, Four Star’s president] support the community culturally and environmentally on Maui.”
By donating time, money and services to groups like the Aloha Shares Network—a landfill diversion project run by Maui Recycling Group—Nakamura said Four Star Mortgage embodies environmentally responsible business on Maui. McCreight then passes the word onto real estate agents, housing contractors and prospective buyers to recycle through the Maui Recycle Group and Aloha Shares Network. Nakamura said he also helps pickup and deliver recycling and donates office supplies and equipment to Aloha Shares.
I stopped by their offices for a look. Walking me through his complex, McCreight pointed out large burlap recycling bags in the mailroom for paper and boxes under each desk for recycling more paper. There was aluminum can disposal in the employee lounge as well as outside, to keep ants out of the building. McCreight told me his company recycles toner cartridges from all its photocopiers and fax machines—about 100 per year. They also encourage their employees to bring recyclables from home.
“Recycling is a common sense approach,” McCreight told me. “We’re an island state and there is only so much room for landfill. It’s all about public responsibility and consciousness for the ‘aina, where you live.”
In an effort to complete “the recycling circle,” Four Star employees bought a 100 percent recycled picnic bench. It sits in the small courtyard of the offices, adjacent to Kahului harbor.
McCreight said Four Star also encourages others in the community to recycle. McCreight said he tells all his condominium buyers about the importance of recycling household goods and unused appliances. He tells them how to contact Aloha Shares so they recycle their old refrigerators, stoves and other kitchen appliances.
“I had a condo buyer who wanted to get rid of her refrigerator,” he said. “It was given to Aloha Shares and the refrigerator ended up in a nurse’s kitchen at Maui Memorial Hospital.”
As long as Maui lacks a Material Recovery Facility (MRF)—a one-stop recycling center—then local businesses and residents will have to keep taking care of matters themselves. Most, it seems, have not decided to follow McCreight’s lead.
For more information on recycling or the disposal of unwanted appliances, contact the Aloha Shares Network at 878-6666. MTW