The Hawaii Herald recently reported that the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill on the island of Hawaii is close to reaching its capacity. According to the director of environmental management for Hawaii County, Bill Kucharkski, the landfill has only one to three years of use remaining.
County officials had intended to extend the Hilo landfill lifespan by building a composting facility next to the site. However, those plans have been put on hold because of odor concerns from the local community. Alternatively, BioEnergy Hawaii proposed a plan for a $50 million operation that could divert 70 percent of incoming waste from the West Hawaii landfill.
The problems of landfill capacity and finding alternative solutions are not limited to Hawaii. Organizations such as the Environmental Research & Education Foundation have provided research that shows that national waste statistics are even higher than EPA estimates. Some states have initiated new diversion programs while others are also experiencing capacity issues.
According to the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Protocol (SWEEP), the average cost for dumping construction and demolition debris increased over the last year from approximately $38 to $40. This increase reflects the continued growth of the real estate and new construction markets. Finding ways to divert construction waste from the landfill by recycling and reusing materials can not only help the environment, but could also make a difference in the bottom line.