Kalaupapa National Historical Park Green Team



National Park Service, Hawaii

Point of Contact

Pa'oneakai Lee-Namakaeha
(808)567-6802
aone_Lee-Namakaeha@nps.gov

Summary

The Green Team at Kalaupapa National Historical Park developed and implemented a solid waste management (SWM) program that has set the solid waste management standard for the State of Hawai'i. Because of the Green Team's efforts, the park's estimated municipal trash diversion rate for FY 2012 is a noteworthy 84 percent.  Kalaupapa is in a difficult environment for managing for solid waste. There are numerous challenges to implementing an effective SWM program including the remote location, tropical climate, and lack of staff resources. In the past, about 79 percent of the solid waste generated in Kalaupapa was disposed of in two on-site landfills and the remaining 21 percent was shipped out annually on a barge to Honolulu for recycling. The Green Team has taken significant measures to reduce, reuse, recycle, and protect the natural environment in order to reduce costs and conserve resources.  The implementation of the SWM program has increased recycling and has motivated park staff and surrounding communities to seek sustainable practices beyond recycling.

Description

Kalaupapa National Historical Park (NHP) is located in an isolated setting midway along the north shore of the island of Moloka'i in the State of Hawai'i. The peninsula is a comparatively flat plateau of lava about 2¼ miles wide, projecting out from a 2,000 foot cliff and was formed by a small volcano, arising from Kauhakō Crater, adjacent to the larger volcanoes that form Moloka'i. Kalaupapa NHP is unique among units of the NPS system because there is an active community of Hansen's disease patients living within the Park. The residential area of the Kalaupapa Settlement is located on the western side of the peninsula and includes residences, dormitories, a hospital, post office, dining hall, a firehouse, a small grocery store, gas station, a social hall, maintenance and storage buildings, churches and the attendant infrastructure needed to support a small and isolated community of 125 people and the daily visitors. Kalaupapa is in a difficult environment for solid waste management. There are numerous challenges to implementing an effective solid waste program including the remote location, tropical climate, and the lack of staff resources.

In the past, about 79 percent of the solid waste generated in Kalaupapa was disposed into two on-site landfills and the remaining 21 percent was shipped out annually on a barge to Honolulu for recycling. This barge comes once a year to the isolated peninsula to export the compacted recyclable materials that have been stored within several 20 foot shipping containers. These processes, along with past practices, led to some degradation of the historic resources, natural resources, and visitor experience. The current landfill operation, managed by the Department of Health (DOH), is at capacity, and was proposed for closure in July 2010.
 
The requisites for this project stem from a cooperative agreement between the DOH and NPS (CA8896-4-0001, March 7, 1984, renewed on April 1, 2004) that calls for the transfer, "in an orderly manner the duties and functions," of the DOH to the NPS, which includes solid waste operations at Kalaupapa. This prerequisite produced an integrated solid waste management system that results in minimal impacts to the land, water, and people of Kalaupapa by developing and encouraging appropriate sustainability alternatives to the landfills such as recycling and composting with annual reports submitted to the DOH.
 
In accordance with EO 13514 and Departmental Manual-Compliance with Waste Management Requirements, and under the Enabling Act, the NPS is to provide a well-maintained community and is to preserve and protect the environment and many historic buildings and structures within the Park. In keeping with the legislative purpose the NPS has been incrementally taking on responsibilities for the operation and management of the settlement.
 
Kalaupapa NHP's Green Team is an interdisciplinary group of five employees: Arthur Ainoa, Joseph Kahee, Brennan Lee-Namakaeha, Pa'oneakai Lee-Namakaeha and Ryan Mahiai. The Team is committed to resource stewardship through proper waste disposal management including hazardous waste disposal, organic gardening and composting, recycling, reusable and sustainable practices. Team members are commended for their innovation, dedication, and enthusiasm for a project that benefits the Park, the community, and the environment for many years to come.

Results and Achievements

Recycled 193,413 Pounds of Materials:

  • 1,300 lbs Aluminum Cans
  • 5,450 lbs Computers and Accessories
  • 145 lbs Toner Cartridges
  • 1,468 lbs of Used Motor Oil
  • 300 lbs Televisions
  • 800 lbs Steel Cans
  • 12,000 lbs Cardboard
  • 5,000 lbs Mixed Paper
  • 13,000 lbs Crushed Glass
  • 700 lbs Plastics (#1PET and #2HDPE)
  • 75 tons of Scrap Metal
  • 2,000 lbs Clothing
  • 1,250 lbs Furniture


Properly Disposed 105,155 Pounds of Materials and 23 Vehicles/Equipment:

  • 50,450 lbs Construction and Demolition Waste
  • 320 lbs Fluorescent Bulbs
  • 5,700 lbs Hazardous Waste
  • 1,500 lbs Non-Hazardous Waste

Replicability

It is conservatively estimated that the Park's municipal trash diversion rate for FY 2012 is 84.46%. Our facility's goal for the solid waste management plan is to have a waste diversion rate of 100% by FY 2015.

Establishing this program for the resident community and employees of the NHP and the DOH was an essential part of the project for motivating the community towards sustainability. What the Team has managed to do maybe a challenge to replicate, but it is not impossible. The Kalaupapa NHP Solid Waste Management Program and its Green Team have set the standards for the State of Hawai'i. It will take a tremendous amount of time and effort for the other islands in the State of Hawai'i to shift attitudes and behaviors regarding recycling.

One very important characteristic of a successful Green Team is a desire to serve the public as well as a desire to conserve whenever possible; with a desire to sustain the environment and be stewards for our public lands. Every effort the Green Team has taken to conserve, recycle, reuse, and protect the natural environment has been done to sustain the environment and reduce costs. This determination and commitment can be replicated in other parks and communities in the State of Hawai'i.

Additionally, the implementation of increased recycling has motivated employees to seek sustainable practices beyond recycling at work and at home. Team members have been approached on ways to further reduce waste through composting, alternative transportation, powering-down electronics, and reducing paper generation.