Honolulu, HI’s department of environmental services: Protecting its most precious resources

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

Honolulu’s refuse collection can be dated back to the 1850s when the then-Hawaiian monarchy provided urban public services. Now, referred to as “opala” (the Hawaiian word for garbage), Honolulu’s trash is picked up by the Department of Environmental Services (ENV), which came into existence after a reorganization in 1998. Prior to that time, a small division within the Department of Public Works handled all of the refuse collection. Joined with the Division of Wastewater Management as well, the two divisions had close to 400 people in refuse and another 450 people in wastewater. When the reorganization occurred, both divisions were put under the new Department of Environmental Services. By doing this, more attention from the administration was now placed on the refuse issues as opposed to when they were part of Public Works, which primarily dealt with roads, drainage, etc.

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