3-Cart Refuse / Recycling Collection

Quick Links:
2011 Curbside Recycling Program Evaluation
Bulky item collection

Collection Service
(carts, manual)
Holiday Collection
Broken Carts

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What you need to know:
About Your Carts
About Sorting
About Your Collection Schedule
Additional Cart Options
Rules/Guidelines for Cart Use
Tips for Sorting, Recycling and Reducing Waste and Litter
Additional Drop-off Options
FREE Mulch
Background Program Development

Currently, 160,000 single-family homes are in the three-cart curbside recycling program serviced with a fully automated collection system. Plans are currently underway to expand curbside recycling to the remaining 20,000 homes that are on manual, refuse-only collection routes. These areas are in pockets of neighborhoods around Oahu which were not accessible by the automated collection truck, and will be serviced in what's called a "semi-automated" system. More information to come.

About Your Carts

Your household should have a complement of three carts for sorting your waste – gray for refuse, green for green waste, and blue for mixed recyclables. Additional carts are available to accommodate larger generating households.
Additional cart Options
Rules/Guidelines for Cart Use

About Sorting

Green waste includes grass, tree and hedge trimmings, garden fruits and vegetables; Christmas trees (no ornaments or flocking).

Mixed recyclables include newspaper, corrugated cardboard, white and colored office paper, paper bags, glass bottles and jars, all metal cans, and plastic containers #1 and #2 plastic codes. Material must be clean. No lids or caps. Do not bag.

More detail about What to Recycle.
More detail about plastic resin codes.
More detail and tips for sorting.

No other paper, magazines, telephone books, glossy paper, cereal or tissue boxes. No other glass, such as drinking glasses, ceramics, window glass. No other plastic, such as polystyrene foam, plastic tubs, plastic bags, plastic toys.

You may notice the City's Opala Team checking blue and green carts very early in the mornings. City ENV personnel are tracking the quantity and quality of the collected materials and may tag your cart if they note problems to help you make any needed corrections. Click here to learn more about the inspection process.

About Your Collection Schedule

Your refuse and recycling carts are serviced on one of these schedules: Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday or Wednesday/Saturday. One collection day is for refuse in the gray cart and the other is for recycling pickup, alternating weekly between the green and blue carts. In some areas, the first collection day is for recycling and second day for refuse. In other areas it is the reverse. Please see the specific collection schedule for your area and a monthly calendar showing alternating weekly schedules. Click here for Collection Schedules and Calendars.

Additional Cart Options

*Service Alert: Requests for additional carts beyond the base set of three will not be accepted from October 1, 2019 to January 31, 2020 due to increased holiday service needs. Please call back in February to make an additional cart request.

If you have the 3-cart collection system and your household consistently generates more material than will fit into the carts each collection period, you may be eligible for additional carts. There is no charge for additional carts. Carts are provided for long term use only, with a 5-cart total limit per household.

  • Additional green carts are issued to households based solely on property size. Your property must be at least 10,000 square feet to qualify for a second green cart and 15,000 square feet for a third. Households in Waiahole, Waikane, Kahaluu, Manoa, Nuuanu and Kaneohe mauka of Kamehameha Hwy, which have higher than average rainfall, must be at least 8,000 square feet to qualify for a second green cart and 12,000 square feet for a third. No exceptions will be made.
  • Additional blue carts are issued to households consistently generating an excess amount of recyclable material. You must be compacting your recyclables and sorting properly without bagging.
  • Second gray carts are only issued to households with consistently high volumes of non-recyclable trash. To determine if you qualify for a second gray cart, City workers will monitor your trash. Households are allowed 2 gray carts maximum. Click here for gray cart monitoring instructions.
  • Call 768-3200 to make your request.

Tips for Sorting, Recycling and Reducing Waste and Litter

  • Set aside an area in your kitchen, perhaps under the sink, to place a small collection container for mixed recyclables for your family’s convenience. All of the recyclables can be mixed together, so all you need is a single container.
  • Deposit green waste directly into the cart as you do your yard work – it’s convenient and eliminates the need to purchase yard bags.
  • Deposit loose green waste and mixed recyclables into your recycling carts. No bags, please.
  • All material must fit in the cart with the lid closed. Carts with green waste or refuse or boxes protruding out the top cannot be collected. Please cut branches, flatten boxes.
  • Heavy amounts of grass clippings may be bagged to prevent clumping. Or place cut branches in the bottom of the cart to help the material slide out during collection.
  • Meter your green waste over more than one collection day if your household generates high volumes of green waste sporadically, but not consistently for every pickup. Green waste pickup is provided every other week, while most households do yard work monthly. It may not be possible to set out all of your green waste on the very next single collection day. You may need to distribute it over the two or more collection days provided each month.
  • Consider leaving grass clippings on your lawn as you mow to reduce your volume of green waste – it’s called grass-cycling and adds nutrients to the soil. A full year of grass-cycling is equivalent to one fertilizer treatment.
  • Another volume reducing technique is to allow leaves and branches to sit in a pile and dry out for about a week before putting them into your cart.
  • Bag all garbage before placing into your refuse cart. Keep the lid of your refuse closed as well as covers on all garbage receptacles around your home.
  • Periodically wash out your refuse cart.

Additional Drop-off Options

Households may also drop off refuse, bulky items and green waste at City Convenience Centers or Transfer Stations. Home owners can also take residential green waste directly to the composting facility free of charge. Delivery vehicles are limited to sedans, pickup trucks, mini-vans and other non-commercial automobiles.

Refuse & Recycling Convenience Centers
Open seven days; 7:00am - 6:00pm
Closed Christmas and New Year's Day

Ewa, Geiger Road
Laie, Kamehameha Highway
Wahiawa, Wilikina Drive (no green waste, take to Hawaiian Earth Recycling)
Waianae, Plantation Road
Waimanalo, Hihimanu Street
Waipahu, Waipahu Depot Street
Kawailoa Transfer Station (Haleiwa), Kawailoa Road (green waste not separated for recycling)
Kapaa Transfer Station, Kapaa Quarry Road (Mon - Fri: 10am-6pm. Sat-Sun: 7am-6pm.)
Keehi Transfer Station (Mon-Fri: 10pm-6pm. Sat: 7am-6pm.) (accepts only combustible waste and auto batteries; No appliances, compressed tanks or tires.)

Composting Sites
Hawaiian Earth Recycling
Wahiawa, 65-1101 Wilikina Dr.
Mon-Sat, 7:00am - 4:30pm
Sun, 8:00am - 12:00pm

Special note to town homes, multi-family dwellings and homes serviced with a manual refuse collection system (not with the wheeled carts). The City does not provide curbside pickup of green waste or mixed recyclables to your homes. However, drop-off facilities are available to all householders, as well as bulky collection service, multi-material (HI-5 plus) recycling centers, household hazardous waste drop-off events and more.

Mulch/Compost Product Availability

Contact Hawaiian Earth Recycling (HER) at 682-5895 to inquire about the availability of free mulch.

HER - Wahiawa
Address: 65-1101 Wilikina Drive
Call: 682-5895
Click for map.

HER - Waimanalo
Address: 41-740 Mokulama St. Waimanalo, 96795
Click for map.

HER - Campbell Industrial Park
Address: 91-400 Malakole St., Kapolei, 96707
Click for map.

Background Program Development

Mililani and Hawaii Kai were the first communities and assisted the City in gathering information and refining the system in pilot programs that began October 2007.
Click to review the Curbside Recycling Pilot Program Evaluation Report.

The islandwide expansion began one year following the pilot, and new communities were added every six months:
October 2007: Mililani, Hawaii Kai
November 2008
: Kuliouou to Manoa, Kapahulu; Kailua, Lanikai; Mokuleia to Sunset
May 2009: Waipio Gentry to Halawa; Wahiawa, Whitmore, Waipio Estates, Launani Valley; Kaneohe; Waimanalo
November 2009: Foster Village to Makiki; Kahuku to Kahaluu
May 2010: Makakilo to Waikele, Waipahu; Ewa Beach to West Loch; Honokai Hale to Makua

The program expansion followed the program design used for the pilot. Early results were encouraging and as the program expanded, so did public support. Mayor Hannemann held community meetings around Oahu in April and May 2007 and again in April 2008 to gather residents’ input on the proposed curbside system. Click here for a recap of the 2007 meetings.

© 2005 City & County of Honolulu's Department of Environmental Services.