HILO (AP) - Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi expects that the Big Island will have a waste-to-energy plant by the time he leaves office in three years.
"Yes, it's an aggressive timeline, but I'm confident we can do it," Kenoi said Tuesday.
But a County Council committee recently unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution "strongly urging" the mayor not to limit the county's new options to waste-to-energy plants.
The council instead wants to consider composting and mulching and emphasizing people's responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle, West Hawaii Today reported.
The full council will consider the resolution Wednesday.
One problem is that the county is now producing less garbage, primarily because of the economic downturn. This may make it hard to sustain a waste-to-energy incinerator.
About 419 tons per day goes to the island's two landfills. Experts have said a minimum of 500 tons per day is required to make waste-to-energy incineration cost-effective with current technology.
With organic waste accounting for more than half the volume of the waste stream, several council members worry that the county will be forced to dump it into a waste-to-energy plant to meet the required tonnage, rather than creating an organics program that offers mulch and compost to residents.
"We are not looking at the universe of technologies that are out there," said South Kona/Kau Councilwoman Brenda Ford.
Kenoi said the county has considered and continues to consider a host of options. Two alternatives he's not considering, however, are expanding the Hilo landfill or trucking Hilo garbage to the West Hawaii landfill at Puuanahulu.
"The county of Hawaii has been struggling with this issue for 20 years now," Kenoi said. "There aren't a lot of options on the table."