Alternative Waste Solutions for the Pacific Region: Learning from the Hawai'i Experience


Jordan P. Howell

Asia Pacific Issues, No. 121


Honolulu: East-West Center

Publication Date: November 2015
Binding: paper
Pages: 8
Free Download: PDF


With limited space and ever-growing trash, the islands of the Pacific share unique challenges managing their solid wastes. The traditional approach has been to collect waste in open dumps and landfills. But overwhelmed sites and unsanitary conditions are driving governments to seek alternative solutions. Hawai'i has implemented "resource recovery" systems in past decades to deal with waste, including an innovative energy-from-waste project on O'ahu, and a recycling/composting program on Maui that focuses on diverting material from landfills. While both have been successful in reducing waste and generating products, the programs have also endured unexpected delays and problems. Despite differences in scale and capacity, the Hawai'i experience offers insights for other Pacific islands into how to tackle their own solid waste management issues, and create systems and policies that deliver the greatest ecological and economic benefits.


The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Center.