Hawaii Materials Recycling digs into Aloha State’s C&D market
Several stakeholders on the island of Maui in Hawaii—including the owners of a ranch, entrepreneurs and Maui County’s government—have partnered to recycle concrete, asphalt and other materials at a facility they opened in mid-2018.
Kihei, Hawaii-based Hawaii Materials Recycling (HMR) has saved island residents considerable money since opening in June 2018, according to the company’s co-owner Pete Sullivan. Based on what Sullivan calls a conservative estimate of 155,000 tons of inert material dropped off over a 16-month span, taxpayers may have saved nearly $8 million, he says.
“If we looked at 155,000 tons, it equates to roughly 103,000 yards, and some years ago I was told by the director of the Department of Environmental Management that it costs $77 per cubic yard to make landfill space,” says Sullivan. “So, the simple math equals about $7.93 million that the county and we as taxpayers will not have to spend because we diverted that from the landfill.”
That volume equates to about 6,200 truckloads (at 25 tons per truck load) dropped off at the HMR site in Kihei, the firm estimates. Trucks can dump their concrete, asphalt and dirt and leave with processed recycled-content materials onsite, “saving in time, gas and money,” according to HMR. That scenario, says the firm, would save an estimated $875,000 in trucking costs based 155,000 tons of volume.
States HMR, “Putting the numbers together, factoring in the low prices, less wait time and what wasn’t spent at the landfill, HMR has saved the public and county around $13 million” in its 16 months in business.
“The amount of money is really astronomical that these kinds of operations save the county in the long run,” says Maui County Councilperson Kelly King, who attended a blessing ceremony for HMR. “We’re beyond the point where we can just throw our trash away and not worry about it; we have to be responsible for all our waste. If we know it’s coming to a place like this, that’s the responsible thing to do.”
According to HMR, an average truck load of 25 tons with rock and dirt pieces larger than three inches can be dropped off at its facility for a tip fee of about $125. At the landfill, that would cost $1,875, says Sullivan.
The company also touts what it calls making a positive impact on natural resource conservation. “If we looked at a yard of concrete that weighs about 2.2 tons, and you think about the materials it takes to make up that yard of concrete, I don’t care what form it’s in, it should never go in the landfill,” says Sullivan. “So, if we can avoid that and we can process it here, we’re creating less of a scar on the island.”
Products sold made with recycled materials offer an additional environmental benefit, says HMR: no blasting or drilling into the earth. HMR indicates it also practices its own sustainable methods onsite. This includes the scale and scale house office being 100 percent powered by solar panels, with a generator for backup. The operation also uses only recycled water from the nearby Maui County Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
HMR describes the facility’s landowner Haleakalā Ranch as sharing a “passion for sustainability, as a long-time local company that makes stewardship a top priority.”
“We’re here to take care of this land; we treat our ownership of this property as more of a responsibility to do what is right by the land and the people,” says Scott Meidell, senior vice president of Haleakalā Ranch. “We’ve been at this for 131 years, and I’m very proud to work for a company that emphasizes the need for stewardship. I think that’s an apt characterization of what projects like these are.”
HMR says its customer base is growing, with many of them having already diverted tons of inert materials from the landfill while also picking up processed products they need, including specification rock and gravel, recycled concrete base, asphalt, soil and sand.
HMR’s roster of customers includes Aloha Waste, Elite Concrete, Mākena Builders, Maui Disposal, PB Sullivan Construction, Rojac Construction, Shoreline Concrete, The Rock Landscaping and West Maui Construction and others, according to Sullivan.
After less than two years in business, HMR says it is encouraged “to see so many companies make the informed choice to not only save on costs, but do their part to help preserve our ‘āina.” That Hawaiian term loosely translates into “love of the land.”