If you have doubts about the HI-5 bottle deposit program, consider this: On Oahu, before HI-5 went into effect in January 2005, the landfill diversion rate was 41 percent, according to the state Department of Health’s Office on Solid Waste Management. In other words, about three-fifths of all of Oahu’s municipal solid waste went to the Waimanalo Gulch landfill.
Since then, more than 4.2 billion beverage containers have been recycled through the program, the waste office says, which helped increase the overall diversion rate to 72 percent. It’s not just HI-5, of course. The diversion rate includes many other recycled materials, plus waste sent to H-Power, the incinerator that turns trash into electricity and generates about 6 to 8 percent of Oahu’s power.