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Staff at the Recycle Center separate cardboard as it is delivered. Pictured from left to right: Chad Fukinaga, Joe Lapera, Gary Reavis, and Jovita Ambrosia.

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Recycling in Paradise

19 Feb 2020 | Susan Bryan - Environmental Outreach Specialist Marine Corps Base Hawaii

When you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with nearly a million other people, space is going to be an issue.  We adapt, explore and have a lot of fun, but what to do with all of our trash?   We can’t send it all to the landfill due to limited space, so we need to do our best to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible. 

Depending on where you live, in base housing or in the barracks, regulations for dealing with our rubbish differ slightly.  Base housing residents’ trash and recycling is handled by the City and County of Honolulu. Information for residents of base housing can be found at . Housing residents can also contact Ohana Military Communities Housing at 808-839-8700 or the Base Family Housing Office at 808-257-2676. 

Regulations for the barracks and units in the industrial areas on Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi may seem stricter than usual, but it’s truly necessary because we pride ourselves on having high environmental standards.  There are three landfills on the island.  We send our rubbish to the smallest one right here on MCBH.  It is very small—remember that space issue mentioned above?  Hopefully, we can help you decide what to recycle, what items require special handling, and what is trash destined for our small landfill.

Staff at the Recycle Center separate cardboard as it is delivered.  Pictured from left to right: Chad Fukinaga, Joe Lapera, Gary Reavis, and Jovita Ambrosia. 

What can be RECYCLED at the Recycle Center?

  • Aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles marked  “HI-5” near the bar code (must be rinsed and free from tobacco spit or other liquids)
  • Corrugated cardboard—flattened and clean (no pizza boxes; see the chart below for additional guidance)
  • White Paper (no FOUO/PII)
  • Magazines, manuals, books, newspapers
  • Toner Cartridges (in original box)
  • Metals (no tactical or aircraft parts)
  • Wood (unpainted)
  • MPPEH (material potentially presenting an explosive hazard) and MDAS (material documented as safe):
    • Spent brass casings ≤ .50 caliber—unit certifier/verifier complete form 1348-1
    • Live ammo—turn in to Ammunition Supply Point (257-8400)
    • Call MPPEH Manager for questions (808-479-7316)

Other common items NOT allowed in a government dumpster:

  • Tires—government issued tires should be taken to your unit’s motor pool, and personal tires must be returned to a retailer (i.e. Firestone, Costco, etc.).
  • Hazardous waste such as batteries, paint, fluorescent light bulbs, solvents, and others should be turned in to your unit’s Hazardous Waste (HW) or Environmental Compliance Coordinator (ECC).
  • Government property such as appliances, furniture, and televisions should be handled by Base Property  (257-6711) or Base Property Turn-in Point (Bldg. 139, 808-479-7364)
  • Government computers—contact S-6; Computer & Info (Bldg. 208, 808-257-3070)
  • Personal bulk items such as furniture, mattresses, televisions, grills, etc. should be taken to the Kapaa Transfer Station (commonly known as “the dump”) on Kapaa Quarry Road in Kailua. Generally, “the dump” is open daily from 1000 to 1800, and it’s only about 10 minutes from MCBH. Call 808-262-4248 for more information about the dump.   

All of the items listed above are not allowed in the dumpsters on MCBH and should never go to our landfill.

Proper sorting of cardboard and recyclables from trash is an important step in saving time and ultimately money in the long run.  See the table below for more guidance on recycling and sorting.  Refer to the Base Order (5233.1A) for specific direction.  Most government dumpsters are clearly labeled.  Some even have a large yellow sticker with generally prohibited items listed in red.  For example, “No wood, metal, or hazardous materials.”  And, “No recyclable materials allowed.”  If the dumpster at your site is not labeled, call Facilities (216-6244).  All trash should be bagged and tied due to the wind blowing loose debris during the pick-up process.  We must increase our efforts to recycle so less rubbish will be sent to our landfill.  Let’s be good stewards of the environment and set the example for pollution prevention by recycling.  Recognize Earth Day every day.  Be part of the solution, not part of the pollution.

 The following chart serves as a quick reference for recyclable materials.

Recyclable Item




Office paper—white/colored


Glossy, waxy

Soiled, dirty

Adhesives (sticky notes, envelopes)

Wrappers, packaging

Plastic, foil

Absorbent—tissue, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper




Soiled, dirty (pizza)

Waxy (milk, ice cream)

Food (pizza, to-go boxes,  juice boxes, cereal)

Plastic-covered or lined


Beverage Containers




Bi-metal (w/ seam)

Tobacco chew/spit

Trash inside

Decomposing beverages/ containers with spoiled liquid



Various metals

Steel, aluminum, brass

Stainless steel, copper

Aircraft and tactical vehicle parts

Weapons, armor

Demil equipment

Communication related equipment


Reminder: E-waste (computers or any equipment with a circuit) should be taken to S-6 at Building 208 on D Street. 

Please contact the Recycle Center if you have questions (808-479-7364).

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