Hilo-recycling.pngHilo, HI (pop. 43,263) is the largest city on the Island of Hawaii (aka “The Big Island”), which offers a quieter, less glitzy way of life than bustling Oahu or resort-filled Maui. Hilo and the rest of the island employs a two-bin curbside recycling system — a “mixed” bin that collects paper, plastic and metal materials, and a glass bin that is for glass containers. Of note is Hawaii’s HI-5 bottle redemption program, which pays 5¢ per qualifying beverage bottle (including plastic water bottles, glass beer/soda bottles, aluminum beverage cans, etc.) that is properly marked for redemption. HI-5 containers are not accepted at the curb, and instead must be taken to one of the island’s 20 redemption centers for proper recycling and payment.

Materials recycled

“Mixed” bin (including paper, plastic and metal materials) Newspapers and inserts, corrugated cardboard, paperboard, phonebooks, magazines, catalogs, office paper, junk mail, wrapping paper, plastic milk jugs, yogurt tubs, ketchup bottles, aluminum cans and steel/tin cans are accepted. Glass bin Plastic bottles and containers numbered, rigid plastics (i.e., baskets and buckets) and plastic food tubs and containers (i.e., yogurt and butter containers) are accepted.


Various curbside haulers across the island service Hilo residents (including Big Island Disposal Service, Eastside Rubbish & Recycling Services, Eco-Trash, Hana Hou Recycling and Hawaii Mobile Recycling). Consult these haulers for pick-up frequency and service areas.

Other programs

The Big Island has 20 HI-5 beverage container redemption centers, including several in Hilo proper. All containers marked for 5¢ redemption must be dropped off at a redemption center, as they are not accepted at the curb. For a list of redemption centers and corresponding hours, click here. Appliance/white good recycling locations are available across the Big Island. Hawaii’s Energy Bound program picks up and recycles old appliances with qualifying purchase of a new model. Automobiles, tires and associated parts and fluids can be taken to various locations around the island for safe recycling. Mr. K’s Recycling and Redemption Center (815 Kino’ole St.) is Hilo’s spot for safe electronics recycling. Open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, the center takes TVs and monitors, computers, printers, phones, DVD players, VCRs and other small electronic devices. The East Hawaii Organics Facility in Hilo accepts organic waste from area residents, including palm fronds, tree and hedge cuttings, grass clippings, untreated and unpainted wood pallets, logs, branches or other material less than 18 inches in diameter or 5 feet in length. The facility is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to noon, and 12:30 to 4:15 p.m. Household hazardous waste collection events take place around the island on select days during the year. The location closest to Hilo, the Recycling & Transfer Station, 1471 Ho’olaulima Rd. (south of Hilo International Airport), hosts collection events the first Saturday of June and December, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Accepted materials include automotive fluids (including antifreeze, used motor oil, gasoline), corrosives (acids & bases), all types of batteries, unbroken fluorescent lights (tubes and CFLs) and chemical ballasts, mercury thermometers, unused or outdated prescription medications (no controlled substances, sharps or needles), toxic aerosol canisters, household compressed gas cylinders (e.g. propane; commercial quantities not accepted; empty tanks should be recycled with scrap metal), oil-based paint and stains, lead-based paints, toxic garden supplies (herbicides/pesticides), household poisons (e.g., insecticides, bug spray) and other miscellaneous hazardous or toxic household products.

More information

Visit the County of Hawaii Department of Environmental Management website for more recycling program info.