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Hawaii's Next Landfill Might Be Its Last

Hawaii's Next Landfill Might Be Its Last

Like a giant rubbish bin stuffed to the brim, Kauai's landfill is nearly chock-full. It's a several hundred million dollar problem with a solution as clear as it is complex: The island's 81,000 tons of annual waste needs a new burial ground.

"This is our single largest public works project for Kauai County — ever," said Lyle Tabata, Kauai County's deputy director of public works.

The existing landfill in Kekaha has about 10 years of life left before it reaches capacity. A decade might seem like ample time to build a new landfill — until you consider that this lifespan estimate is dependent on a very big "if."

If — and only if — the island can successfully implement an aggressive series of recycling programs geared at achieving a 70 percent waste diversion rate by 2020, the Kekaha landfill has about 10 years of life left.

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