Japan Environmental Exchange

Dealing with Waste in Mauii, Hawaii

On October 27th, at High Moon's exhibition of original drawings for JEE's calendar and ceramics, I met activist Wilma Nakamura from “Sharing Aloha Maui," a citizens' NPO in Mauii, Hawaii. She had contacted JEE by letter, wanting to find out about our activities by visiting Kyoto. I told her what we're doing, and asked her about what's going on in Mauii.

Wilma explained that in Mauii ordinary household waste including kitchen waste is collected unsorted from in front of people's houses on designated days, and large or bulky waste (“ogata-gomi in Japanese) is collected on different days, but it is not necessary to call the municipal office to request a pick-up. Components containing precious metals are retrieved from items like TVs, and sent to the mainland USA. However, because waste is handled by the municipal government, most people's consciousness of recycling and re-use is low. So, Sharing Aloha Maui is trying to build better awareness by holding “Art of Trash" art shows and fashion shows based on re-use of all kinds of waste. They also run composting workshops.
We talked only briefly, but it was interesting to learn about these differences, and her organization's activities. Wilma said she will send us her impressions of Japan. Meanwhile, you can check out Sharing Aloha Maui's home page at http://www.sharingalohamaui.org/

-- Yuri Egashira