HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council’s Public Works Committee deferred a plan to burn recyclables at the city’s H-Power Plant.

The plan would allow the city to divert recyclable materials that it picks up at residences to the plant in Kapolei, where the items would be burned to generate electricity, Hawaii News Now reported Thursday.

Lori Kahikina, director of the city Department of Environmental Services, said it typically costs about $3 million each year to send residents’ recyclables to the mainland for processing. A recent city audit found that had the city burned those recyclables during the past four years, it would have generated more than $29 million in additional electricity sales.

“This is an area we know we can probably yield a lot more revenue or savings in and we’re determined to make headway,” Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga said.

Environmentalists, however, said they question what the point of recycling is if those materials are going to be incinerated anyway.

“Reuse and reduction are ultimately where we need to be in the waste pyramid whereas incineration and land filling is at the very bottom,” said Rafael Bergstrom, Oahu Chapter coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation.

The environmentalists said the city should instead look at more ways to reduce the amount of trash people produce.

“The basis of our opposition is that it would be premature for the council to say we can go in one direction without all of the information,” said Jodi Malinoski, Oahu Group coordinator for the Sierra Club.


Information from: KGMB-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/