LEED Waste Audit

GBH News

Away is not a place. Every time something is thrown into the trash (or “thrown away”), it ends up somewhere.  In many cases, that means a landfill. Maui’s landfill currently receives 550 tons of waste per day and is projected to be full by 2026. With that in mind, this past November, Green Building Hawaii and The Hyatt Regency Maui teamed up with Maui Disposal in order to do a full-scale waste stream audit of the Hyatt Regency Maui property. The goal of the audit was to determine what percentage of material that is currently in the waste stream, could be diverted from the landfill via recycling, reuse, or composting.

With a team of dedicated waste auditors from Hyatt, GBH, and Maui Disposal, several thousand pounds of trash were separated and sorted in order to be weighed. 47% of the waste that was sorted was non-recyclable, non-compostable garbage. Most of the other poundage, 34%, came from food waste. The Hyatt Regency Maui is currently diverting 40% of its food waste to the Pua’a Pig Farm on the island. Still, with five restaurants on-site, a Luau, employee dining, and catering, there is room for improvement. Steps are being taken to capture more of the overall food waste on the property and eventually divert more to the pig farms. Seven percent of the waste stream came from cardboard, 2/3 of which was being diverted. Other recyclable items that were found include compostable plastic (69 Lbs.), aluminum and tin (34 Lbs.), brown paper and newspapers (184 Lbs.), and glass (250Lbs.)

As the saying goes “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” While this saying is usually applied to energy usage, it is also true of a waste stream. The first step to effectively managing a waste stream is to identify what materials make up the stream, and how they can be properly diverted from landfills. It was a pleasure for Green Building Hawaii to help facilitate this process for the Hyatt Regency Maui. If this progressive and action-oriented approach was adopted as a common practice by large waste generators, we would likely see much higher waste diversion rates from our landfill and improve the sustainability of our local communities.