Hawaii gets a D+ in Green

For those whose geography is extremely limited, Hawaii is surrounded by water and it seems overwhelmingly populated by white hippy types as well as the few native Hawaiians that are left. It has all the earmarks of being a legendary, closed-loop system that could near biodynamic status because of its isolation. Admittedly, tourism is a massive industry there and tourists create waste, but at the same time, they create waste from materials that are already there, since you can’t bring most foods in to the state or bottled liquids.
So, out of all of this, it would seem that a great recyclo-sphere would arise. The islanders would compost and return everything that is from the island back in to the island. After all, it seems that with America’s realization that there is no more expansion possible, we are starting to realize how small the world actually is and in Hawaii, it would seem that this realization is something you’d have for breakfast as you can look from one end of each island to the other.
But, no, Hawaii is horrible when it comes to being environmental. As I mentioned previously, there is a bus system, but it’s limited. For the size and amount of people who visit these islands, there should be a massive public transportation grid that runs electrically (Hawaii could easily make use of wave generators for electricity as well as solar electricity). No, everyone has a car and everyone drives, including those of us who travel as tourists, which I was very unhappy about.
Then there is the waste factor. Obviously, in current society, we have waste. It is the type of waste and what we do with it which dictates how low of an impact we’re having. First there is the issue of recycling. You’d think you were in 1950’s on Hawaii with how pitiful the recycling initiatives are. They only seem to recycle glass and aluminum containers and some plastic bottles. I saw no bins for paper or other materials. I might add that these bins are all hard to find. As a tourist, I really don’t want to trash the place I’m staying in and regardless to what those in touristed areas think, a great many of us try to not be slobs. They make it hard in Hawaii though. It’s much easier to toss your waste in to the trash than recycle it. We drove around with bottles and cans in the car for three days in Kauai to try and recycle it, only to end up leaving it at the place we stayed in the hopes that they’re green-minded and will put it somewhere that we couldn’t find. I’m than happy to let them have the deposit money if my waste doesn’t end up in the garbage.
Beyond the recycling, there is the non-environmentally sound waste that is created. Countless places we ate at had no plates or eating utensils that were reusable. It seemed that they were more interested in using plastic forks and knifes along with those god forsaken styrofoam plates to serve the food on. Once done, they would just toss all of this in the trash, like our server did at Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina as he “bussed” our table by throwing away everything we used.
Needless to say, I was shocked at all of this and had to wonder as to where does all of this go? Do they toss it down a volcano? To some extent it appears to go in to landfills. This practice is unfortunate on the mainland, but insane on a place like Hawaii where there is such limited space. I really hope (but somehow suspect) that a good deal of it is loaded on to barges and dumped out at sea. If that’s true, then I’d downgrade this state from a D+ (which they earn only due to their minor recycling efforts) to an F.
Maybe someone can fill me in on more of this. I’m really in the dark and am only basing this on my observations of people living on the islands. I am more than happy and would be very relieved to be corrected.
Hawaii gets a D+ in Green