Our 2012 Green Issue Explores Electric Cars And The History Of Recycling On Maui And Recycling Clothes And Recycling MauiTime Itself
April 19, 2012
Hey, isn't this issue's cover dope? It's colorful, creative and, best of all, completely authentic. It was really quite simple: our art director Scrappers and his family picked up trash along the coastline between Kahului Harbor and the Jack in the Box on Lower Main in Wailuku. In just one hour they had filled three garbage bags (and the marine debris from the Japanese tsunami hasn't even gotten here yet!). Using some of the more colorful scraps they laid the cover out on a nearby beach. To celebrate a good job done well they recycled what they could and put the rest in a dumpster.
So we at MauiTime would like to thank all the people on Maui who've been carelessly dumping trash (or just ignoring marine debris that washes ashore) for making our cover so easy and straightforward–we couldn't have done it without your help.
What's that you say? You don't like how our island looks when it's covered in garbage? Then do something about it. You can start by reading this issue. We have stories about the rise of non-polluting electric cars, clothing recycling, newspaper recycling and how one small company turned recycling into a growing business.
If you want to act, Surfrider Foundation often does beach cleanups around the island (they've scheduled one for Kahului Harbor on Apr. 21; go to surfrider/org/maui for more info) but the best thing you can do is JUST PICK UP GARBAGE YOU SEE AROUND YOU. Make it part of your routine. And, if you can, keep a mental note of all the things you do that pollute our environment, and do what you can to minimize it.
We'll all be glad you did.
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Rise Of The Electric Machines
When Will Maui Be Ready For Electric Cars?
By Anthony Pignataro
The future for electric vehicles (EVs), cars that emit no pollution whatsoever, on Maui is bright, but you'd never know it by seeing the charging station at AAAAA Rent-A-Space in Honokowai. In late March, the company opened a Level 2 charging station there (it takes six hours to power up an EV) to great fanfare.
With energy coming from a massive 600-kilowatt photovoltaic assembly on the roof, the whole setup should be a model for future electric car charging centers. "Responsible stewardship of the land is one of our core values, and we're proud to contribute to our islands' efforts to wean itself from imported oil," AAAAA owner Jim Knuppe said in the Apr. 5 Lahaina News.
After hiring local public relations firm Gilbert & Associates, the station opened to great media attention, which was helped by a visit from Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa. But since then, business has been non-existent.
"We've had no business," said AAAAA Manager Liz May.
For Anne Ku, director of the Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance (MauiEVA), a kind of users group for the owners of the 50 or so EVs on the island, it's no surprise that none of the owners of the island's 50 or so EVs have charged at AAAAA. "They charge too much," she said, referring to AAAAA's $10/hour charging fee. At that rate, EV owners would spend $60 charging their cars, which is more than gas-powered auto owners currently pay, even with gas prices hovering near $5/gallon.
Instead, Better Place, a private company that builds EV stations around the world, runs seven other charging stations around the island that don't charge EV owners anything to use them (though two are located in hotels–the Four Seasons and Marriott, both in Wailea–and are only for use by hotel guests). Amazingly, less than two miles from AAAAA's charging station sits a free charging station in the Kahana Gateway Center that can accommodate four cars.
As Ku knows only too well, building an infrastructure on Maui to handle electric cars is difficult and time-consuming. Though there are just a handful of charging stations around the island, Ku said there are currently 37 active permits to run stations. It's also expensive, though MauiEVA, which is run out of the University of Hawaii, is benefitting from a $299,693 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
"The project will publish a plan to develop and implement a permitting process, incentives, policies, and a renewable energy grid system analysis for the expeditious and sustainable deployment of EVs and charging infrastructure," states the grant. "The plan will help provide a model that can be adapted for broader application across the State of Hawaii."
The ultimate plan to introduce the electric car to Maui is, according to Ku, a novel one: let rental car companies bring in fleets of EVs and have visitors drive them around. But that hasn't happened yet, mostly because there aren't yet enough charging stations to justify fleet purchases of EVs. To date, Ku said there's just one plug-in car available for rent on the island: a Nissan Leaf owned by BioBeetle.
Individuals wishing to purchase EVs for themselves also have to shell out considerable money ($37,000 or so) though there are federal and state rebates that kick some of that money back to the buyer.
As for her organization, Ku said they're still identifying "roadblocks" to getting Maui EV-ready.
"One key barrier is education: there are different kinds of charging stations," she said. "Another is that there are only two types of plug-in cars available on Maui right now–the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. Affordability is also a problem. There are tax rebates provided by the state for new EVs bought in Hawaii, but it's first-come, first-served. The hard thing is that the technology is changing, the rebates are changing, the incentives are changing..."
Currently, Maui only has Level II chargers, which take about up to six hours to power up an EV. But there are fast chargers opening on the Mainland that take only about 30 minutes. Of course, the Mainland electrical grid is interconnected, whereas Maui is an island with an isolated grid. And being an island means salt air, which can be detrimental to charging stations.
"Everything is so new," said Ku. "It was only last year when plug-in types started coming in. Early adapters have been willing to take risks, but without good infrastructure, you can't make an EV your primary car."
It's a serious list of problems, but one thing gives Ku hope. "Demand is not a barrier," she said.
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A History Of Recycling On Maui
By Dina Noyes
If recycling began in any single place on Maui, it was most likely the old Makawao Dump on Makani Road. In the 1970s and '80s, there wasn't any organized recycling on Maui, but there was the Makawao Dump.
It was a dumpster diver's dream. There was no heavy equipment working the pile, just unwanted goods sitting out in the open, exposed to the rain, rust, sun and termites. Then there were the people scrambling over the pile, some dumping and some taking.
You could furnish an entire home from the Makawao Dump. Cars could be restored, houses repainted, windows embellished with stained glass. You could also find great old books, antiques, silverware, linens, pots, pans, ancient metal trunks, family pictures of people you never met, garden hoses worn by the sun, shovels, trowels, tables, chairs, fans, electrical wiring, copper, old boots, sneakers, working pens, tins of broken seashells, surfboards, ropes and even saddles. Well, it was Makawao, after all.
In 1977, EKO Compost began turning green waste into high quality soil, and they're still at it. A year later, Maui Scrap Metal, (otherwise known as "Apanas"), opened a drop site for a few recyclables such as commercial metals, cardboard and paper, though they've been closed for years now.
By 1990, Maui Recycling Service opened, offering Maui its first and only residential curbside collection service. They borrowed a truck for the first two months, then purchased their own Ford F250 at a Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar auction.
By 1991, the County of Maui got into the act, hiring a recycling coordinator and implementing community drop boxes for recycling. Not long after Aloha Recycling opened for business and started taking glass and crushing it for use as "glasphalt"–a filler for asphalt. That's about the time that Maui Recycling Service set up commercial services for several large hotels, and in 1997 they started offering food waste collections, though that portion of the business was sold a few years later.
By 2001, MRS was running their trucks on 100 percent biodiesel, and in 2003 they opened the Bio-Beetle Eco Rental Car Company with a few diesel Volkswagens. Today they rent Beetles, Jettas, a Jeep Liberty, two Prius hybrids, and a plug-in Nissan Leaf, all while continuing to run Maui Recycling Service.
It's taken decades to get to this level, but I'm still surprised at how many people here don't understand how the island's distance from the Mainland factors into the cost of recycling. On the Mainland, a single stream recycling system is feasible because processing plants are within driving distance of each other. But here, Maui Recycling Service must ask customers to separate their recyclables because the labor involved in preparing the items for the processor–in this case, Aloha Recycling–would be prohibitive.
The differences among the glass, plastic, tin, steel, aluminum, electronics, various types of paper, (newspaper, junk mail and glossy), cardboard, batteries, phone books and cell phones make an enormous financial dent in any business when shipping them off-island so that they can be recycled and turned into similar products (like aluminum cans) or completely new products like plastics.
With just seven employees at MRS (disclosure: I'm one of them), separating all the varieties of recyclables would not allow any time to drive around the island collecting them in the first place. The information provided by the county, individual companies and those in the recycling field should be a priority for anyone who thinks reusing our trash can help make a better community.
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What To Do With Your Old Copies Of MauiTime
By Anu Yagi
We know your dilemma: there are only so many gilded frames and so much wall space. So what to do with old copies of MauiTime? As for us, we reinforce our office building's waning structural integrity with thousands of back issues piled to the ceiling, creating great Doric order columns that inspire fear and awe in the hearts of fire inspectors. We also make newspaper hats. Why? Because the forgotten fourth band member in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ensemble is (drum roll, please) Repurpose!
See, newsprint is like a cat—even the mangy ones have multiple lives. So this year, we're showing you how—with a little ingenuity—you can eke extra oomph out of once-proud trees' pulp remains. Because sure, we sort of owe it to the cosmos' 15 billion-year tradition which evolved the plants and people that make paper products. But you also never know when you'll need to whip-up a good papier-mâché doohickey.
The latest research indicates that the number one reuse of MauiTime is for picking-up pet poop. But did you also know that MauiTime is great for lining the cages of small animals like birds, bunnies and lab rats? Yessir, our weekly's reporting is so in-depth that it actually makes the paper itself more absorptive. Also, our smart-ass African Grey readers say they can't get enough of Coconut Wireless.
There's also nothing like coming home after a long day at work, chugging a cold brewski and turning the empty bottle into a Molotov cocktail. Setting stuff on fire (like parking tickets and effigies of your boss) really helps take the edge off bending over for The Man. It's also an essential post-breakup practice. You may not be able to burn-off herpes like you can regular warts, but burning perfumed love letters adds a delightfully aromatic touch to any beach bonfire or voodoo curse.
A good fire's built on a foundation of good kindling–and MauiTime makes good kindling. Back in the day, folks twisted hay (see Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter) to add density to kindling so that it burned slower, giving logs enough time to light. The same can be done with newspaper.
Of course, unless you're an artistic genius, papier-mâché projects are incredibly time consuming and mostly useless. So if you like spending life's precious moments making something you'll eventually throw away, it's the medium of choice (second only to macaroni).
Though papier-mâché is a French term that literally means "chewed paper," it's important that you don't masticate MauiTime. The ink will turn your gums blacker than even periodontal disease can—and this is unattractive.
All you really need for papier-mâché is white flour and water. You either can use the mix cold or first boil the solution so that the finish dries clear; but the trade-off is that the cooked version is not as sturdy.
You should also think outside the balloon. Not just for makeshift condoms and sea creature-choking, balloons are handy forms (when inflated, of course) for papier-mâché crafting. The roundish shapes can be used as the foundations for full-face masks, or the bodies of piggy banks and pinatas that you can smash like your hopes and dreams.
Making paper bags is also a great craft project for people who suck at finishing things. All you have to do is pretend like you're gift-wrapping a box, but crap-out halfway through. Then, simply slide the box out of the unfinished end and voila! You've got a paper bag! The same technique, when applied to a tin can–and using paper thickened by folding it at least three-ply–is great for making seedling pots that can be planted directly into the ground.
Finally, if you're a grown-up who doesn't know how to make a newspaper hat, your childhood was even worse than you thought. Start with therapy, then fold a piece of newspaper in half (MauiTime comes conveniently pre-folded). Then fold the corners of the creased end inward to form a triangle. A long narrow strip will be left at the bottom, which should then be folded-up to create the hat's brim. Wear and enjoy.
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How Recycling Maui's Textiles Can Help Save The Planet
By Jen Russo
You may not think about it, but the manufacturing of fabrics is a top source of pollution on our planet, with cotton and polyester production using vast amounts of pesticides and chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that in 2010, an amazing 12.83 million tons of textiles found their way into our municipal solid waste (MSW) stream, with 1.97 million tons of that recovered through recycling. Textiles are recycled at a rate of about 15 percent (paper's rate is 52.7 percent).
The central Maui landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2026. One option is to acquire more land, but a better option is to increase our recycling efforts.
"Our community is pretty good about getting stuff to second hand stores," says Hana Steel, Maui County Recycling Coordinator. "Our 2011 figures show textiles are 2.7 percent of MSW for businesses and residents at the Central Maui Landfill, compared to Oahu at 3.3 percent and Kauai at 4 percent."
Bethany Gringrich takes this very seriously. In fact, in 2006 she decided to make a change in her life, resolving to go for one year without buying anything new. Her change proved so successful that in 2007 she and her partner Joseph Cicchino created the first Elise Clothing consignment store in Kahului. Today, the business has grown to three stores.
"Recycling clothing is a huge benefit to the environment," says Cicchino. "All of our clothing is sourced on Maui from local individuals, requiring no shipping. This saves fuel, packaging, and other waste that goes along with new retail. Nearly all of our retail fixtures were purchased on either Maui or Oahu from other retail businesses. We also provide our own reusable shopping bags with purchases. We estimate it to be over 30,000 pounds of textile that we actually accept and sell."
Elise buys clothing and accessory items outright when you bring them in. Other consignment shops like Rainbow Attic feature household goods, furniture pieces, books and clothing and accessories. Bohemia on Market Street in Wailuku is a consignment store that specializes in designer items and some locally designed goods.
Big Brother Big Sister of Maui, which provides Maui's at-risk youth with support and one-to-one mentoring relationships, has a truck that picks up re-usable clothing and small household items that operates five to six days a week.
"We offer free at-home / business pickup and then deliver the items directly to the Savers store, where the store pays us based upon the weight of the items," says J.D. Wyatt, the organization's director. "I believe the extra value we provide by picking items up at their homes is a win-win for everyone involved."
Another non-profit working in the clothing recycling business is Kidney Clothes, which operates on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii. They have two staffed donation pods, one near the Longs in Pukalani and the other near the Longs in Kihei, where you can donate your reusable clothing and shoes.
"Kidney disease is on the rise and this is one way we offset the cost of providing our services," says Colleen Welty, Maui Director, National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii. "We have a driver on the road about two days a week doing pick ups and Savers purchases the goods from us."
There is also something undeniably cool about wearing used clothing. Gingerich from Elise believes strongly in this.
"There are so many ways to recycle wearables!" says Gingerich. "People get so excited when they find awesome treasures, so if you don't love it, move it out of your closet and get it to someone who will adore it. It's one of the simplest and most fun ways to be environmentally friendly and look super-cute!"