Solid Waste Management Lessons from Kauai, Hawaii

Lessons Learnt

Allison Fraley, Kauai County’s Solid Waste Management Coordinator, came to the Virgin Islands to assist us in our continued challenge to manage our solid waste.

Allison Fraley gave multiple presentations and discussions providing Virgin Islands residents the chance to ‘talk trash’ with the County of Kauai’s Solid Waste Management Coordinator. She helped to establish Kauai’s entire solid waste management system including backyard composting, effective public education programs, and a solid waste diversion program 8% higher than the national average. She came to share her experiences transforming the solid waste programs on her tropical island (click here for Allison’s presentations).
The public forums were held on Monday, July 24th in the Prior Jollek Hall at Antilles School (St. Thomas), Thursday, July 26th in the Coral Reef Room at The Westin and at The Tap Room in Mongoose Junction (St. John), and Friday, July 28th at the Guy Benjamin Community Center in Coral Bay (St. John).All residentswere welcomed and encouraged to attend. During her visit to the Virgin Islands, July 24th-28th, Ms. Fraley met with Waste Management Authority officials, government officials, the University of the Virgin Islands, and VI Senators.

Allison’s efforts have helped to significantly increase Kauai’s waste diversion rate, which is currently at 43 %, 8% higher than the national average.

An example of an effective program was the passage and enforcement of legislation banning commercially generated cardboard, metal and green waste at the Kauai County landfill. “This has had a major impact on commercial waste diversion,” said Fraley, who championed the bill. “Meanwhile, backyard composting is our least expensive program and also does a fantastic job of diverting residentially generated food and yard waste from the landfill with no costs for hauling or processing material.”

Ms. Fraley was successful in advocating for the hiring of more staff to develop, contract, monitor and educate about waste diversion programs.

“Allison was chosen to speak in the Virgin Islands because Kauai has a 43 percent diversion rate and shares a number of similar variables (tropical island, topography, climate, population, high tourism industry, transportation issues) making them ideal to look to, learn from, and perhaps copy here” said Scott Eanes, Environmental Programs Associate at the Coral Bay Community Council. “We needed to look to other island systems to see how they are handling their solid waste issues, their successes and pitfalls, and then see if we can emulate it here.”

Ms. Fraley’s interest in recycling and solid waste diversion started in college and turned into a full-fledged career in 1994, where she started working at Ecology Action, a non-profit in Santa Cruz, California. She worked there for six years before moving to Kauai in 2000, becoming the county’s first paid staffer focusing on recycling. Ms. Fraley has since moved on to her current position within the Solid Waste Division, assisting with oversight of all areas of solid waste management on Kauai.

Ms. Fraley’s visit was possible through a solid waste management grant awarded to the Coral Bay Community Council from the US Department of Agriculture. Her presentations and discussions were co-hosted by VI Waste Management Authority, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources-Coastal Zone Management, Island Green, E.A.S.T., Virgin Islands Conservation Society, Plastic Free Island: St. John, Antilles School, and the University of the Virgin Islands.

Want to see Allison Fraley’s Solid Waste Management and Recycling presentations?
She was kind enough to leave them for us, ALOHA! Click Here

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