Recycle Hawaii is a 501(c)3 educational organization incorporated in 1992 and active as a grassroots effort since 1989. Its kuleana is to promote resource management and recycling throughout the state by educating and informing the people of Hawaii. Look closely at how Recycle Hawaii achieves its mission and you’ll find an impressive strategy that teaches in the traditional sense while providing breakthrough learning experiences for island residents and visitors alike. Although the group originated on Hawaii Island and most of their activities have occurred there, expect to see a broader reach in the decades to come.
One area of sustained focus has been educational outreach to students via the group’s “Artists in the Environment” and “Art of Recycling” programs. ‘After two decades of teaching the three “Rs,” we have the pleasure of serving those who have matured along with our organization,’ explains RH Executive Director, Paul J. Buklarewicz. He sees both challenge and reward in engaging this critically aware constituency and looks to cutting edge programs promoting zero waste as the way to keep up with an ever increasing demand for recycling opportunities.
Collaboration is the key to Recycle Hawaii’s success, and their newest program is a prime example: Dubbed, “Less Waste Means More Fun,” it provides incentives for anyone willing to stage a zero waste event and draws support from Waste Management, Inc., Keep America Beautiful, Keep Hawaii Beautiful and the Hawaii County Research and Development Department.
Since its humble beginnings as an all-volunteer effort, this positive force for the aina has spearheaded initiatives to keep discards out of the environment and move recycling into the mainstream. In the process of collecting over 100,000 gallons of waste motor oil, two million pounds of obsolete electronics, rivers of discarded latex paint and mountains of “still good stuff,” Recycle Hawaii has become a critical force in the green jobs sector. The organization is run by a staff of 15 employees assisted by a cadre of freelance educators, visual and performing artists, and other professional service providers. Builders seeking to qualify for LEED certification can count on this highly qualified team to help with C&D waste.
Due to its close working relationship with Hawaii County, Recycle Hawaii is often mistaken for a branch of government, but Buklarewicz emphasizes that the organization is “a membership-based non-profit dependent on volunteer assistance, private donations and public grant funds to succeed.”
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