THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO WASTE MANAGEMENT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the human-induced global climate requires a thoughtful, bold, and coordinated response on many fronts to reverse global warming and make Hawaii communities more resilient to the impact of storms, floods, fire, and sea level rise that threaten the very survivability of these fragile islands. Lest Hawaii lose its leadership position in the arenas of labor, justice, and equity, the legislature embraces the philosophy of aloha aina to decarbonize Hawaii's systems of food, energy, and transportation, and to sequester carbon through systems of agriculture, waste management, and ecosystem restoration. The jobs created thereby also expand access to health, housing, and education, ensuring justice and equity for Hawaii's citizens. This Act represents a forward step in adapting Hawaii to inevitable change.
The legislature finds that as evidence mounts that our survival greatly depends on transitioning away from carbon-based fuels, a greater understanding of the relationship between human activities and the earth's natural systems points to the additional need for an equally ambitious effort to remove carbon from the atmosphere by increasing the carbon sequestration capacity of earth's soils. The rationale for this strategy can be found in long-standing soil science assessments that current greenhouse gas reduction efforts alone would be inadequate to restore livable climatic conditions.
Even if humans stop emitting greenhouse gases immediately, the present volume of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is enough to ensure increased warming for thirty years. While climate scientists have determined that 106.25 gigatons of carbon must be withdrawn from the atmosphere to reverse global warming, soil scientists have demonstrated that the potential for earth's soils to absorb carbon far exceeds this amount. Scientific studies demonstrate that because healthy soils can hold twice the carbon stocks of plants, the key to building soil carbon sequestration capacity lies in building healthy soil.
The legislature further finds that the use of composted organics with their vast stores of macro- and micro-nutrients greatly improves the health of soils in ways that protect and enhance natural systems. On the contrary, imported, petroleum-based and energy-intensive fertilizers have shown to destabilize a healthy soil microbiome.
The legislature also acknowledges that actions taken to improve soil health will reverse climate change to support Hawaii's goal of a seventy per cent reduction in the State's solid waste stream as outlined in the Aloha+ Challenge. Although the exact percentage varies from island to island, organics constitute the largest single component of Hawaii's waste stream, and account for at least fifty per cent of the materials discarded each year. Organic materials that end up in the waste stream include food, food-contaminated paper, and yard trimmings. As grassroots initiatives like the city and county of Honolulu's recent single-use plastics ban are sought to expand statewide, and as businesses voluntarily adopt earth-friendly plastic substitutes, the percentage of organics in the waste stream will grow, making the diversion of waste organics into composting programs the least costly and most direct method for the State to meet its solid waste reduction goals.
The legislature further finds that because organics in landfilled waste are the largest source of human-generated methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential eighty-four times that of carbon dioxide over a twenty-year period, the diversion of waste organics into composting programs offers the least costly and most direct method to significantly reduce the amount of methane emitted from Hawaii's landfills.
The legislature further seeks to acknowledge the potential economic benefits that may accrue to Hawaii's farmers when they are able to include compost sales and carbon sequestration incentives to their income streams.
The purpose of this Act is to address the urgent need to expand the State's capacity for capturing and processing the organic waste its residents and visitors generate to reduce landfill waste while supporting local farmers and the State's commitment to take effective climate action. Additionally, this Act creates a class of artisan-scale composting operations that are exempt from Department of Health regulations and establishes by farmers and others to divert organic materials from Hawaii's landfills and sequester atmospheric carbon.
SECTION 2. Chapter 225P, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§225P- Artisan-scale composting program. There is established within the department a class of artisan-scale composting operations that are sited on land zoned industrial or agricultural and are exempt from department of health rules; provided that these operations do not produce vectors, dust, or odors that unreasonably impact neighbors of the operation, as determined by the department, and that no waste accepted remains on-site for more than thirty-six months. No more than one exempt facility specified in this section may be located on geographically contiguous land owned or operated by the same person. Sufficient bulking agent shall be used to provide proper aeration and control leachate migration. For these facilities, precipitation, surface water, and groundwater that have come in contact with yard trimmings or the resultant product shall not be considered leachate if it is managed within the site, is allowed to enter a surface waterbody or a conveyance to a surface waterbody, and does not cause a violation of state water quality standards."
SECTION 3. Section 225P-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new definitions to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:
""Artisan-scale" means a composting operation that accepts, measured on a monthly average, no more than one thousand pounds or one cubic yard, whichever is greater, of organic materials per week; a composting facility located at a site controlled by the waste generator; or a composting facility that accepts no more than three thousand cubic yards of yard trimmings per year.
"Department" means the department of health."
SECTION 4. Section 342G-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending the definition of "food waste" to read as follows:
""Food waste" means
all animal and vegetable solid wastes [
generated by food facilities and
residences] that result from the storage, preparation, cooking, or handling
SECTION 5. Section 342H-52, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§342H-52 Prohibitions; buffer zones. (a) No person, including any federal agency, the State, or any county, shall construct, operate, modify, expand, or close a municipal solid waste landfill unit, or any component of a municipal solid waste landfill unit, without first obtaining a permit from the director. All permits for municipal solid waste landfill units shall be subject to any terms and conditions that the director determines are necessary to protect human health or the environment.
No person, including any federal agency, the State, or any
county, shall construct, modify, or expand a [
waste or] disposal
facility including a municipal solid waste landfill unit, any component of a
municipal solid waste landfill unit, a construction and demolition landfill
unit, or any component of a construction and demolition landfill unit without
first establishing a buffer zone of no less than one-half mile around the [ waste
or] disposal facility. This
subsection shall not apply to the continued operation of an existing [ waste
or] disposal facility that is properly permitted; provided that continued operation
does not require physical expansion, vertical or horizontal, of the facility
requiring additional permitting review and a permit modification.
For the purposes of this subsection:
"Buffer zone" means the distance between the edge of waste or waste activity and the nearest residential, school, or hospital property line.
Waste or disposal] Disposal
(1) A transfer station or landfill as defined in section 340A-1;
(2) An open dump as defined in section 342H-1;
(3) A solid waste reduction facility or waste reduction facility as defined in section 342G-1, except facilities designed primarily for composting organic material such as food waste and green waste, as those terms are defined in section 342G-1, and on-site school campus food waste composting programs;
(4) A disposal facility; or
(5) Any other facility for the disposal of solid waste that is required by law to obtain a permit from the department of health.
"waste or] "Disposal facility"
[ individual, state certified, non-industrial redemption center.] excludes
recycling drop-off facilities, facilities for composting as defined in section
"Recycling drop-off facility" means a structure or site designated for collection, temporary storage, and small scale (low technology) segregation of recyclable materials."
SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
Solid Waste; Waste or Disposal Facility; Buffer Zone; Exemptions; Artisan-scale Composting Program; Department of Health
Broadens the definition of "food waste" as used in integrated solid waste management. Excludes facilities designed primarily for composting organic material such as food waste and green waste, on-site school campus food waste programs, and recycling drop-off facilities from the requirement that disposal facilities shall not be constructed, modified, or expanded without first establishing a buffer zone of no less than one-half mile from the nearest residential, school, or hospital property line. Establishes a class of artisan-scale composting operations exempt from department of health regulations to divert organic materials from Hawaii's landfills. Takes effect 7/1/2050. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.