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Sustainable Parks: Kalaupapa National Historical Park

August 16, 2012

The peninsula of Kalaupapa is a very unique and isolated place, making many activities taken for granted in other locations more complicated. One example found here at the park is the issue of trash. Everyone creates trash, but here in Kalaupapa trash disposal is difficult due to the limited space and accessibility of the area.

In 2010, the Municipal Solid Waste Landfill at Kalaupapa officially closed. In early 2009, the National Park Service began a comprehensive recycling program that now recycles thousands of pounds of material yearly. These numbers grow every single year. Kalaupapa’s highly successful recycling program manages all types of material from cans to appliances.


The recycling and composting process begins at each building in Kalaupapa

Beginning at each residence and office, trash is sorted from compost, paper, recyclables, and trash.  Mondays and Thursdays are pick-up days across the peninsula all trash and recyclables are brought down to the recycling center, where everything is sorted (glass, aluminum, tin cans, paper, cardboard, type 1 and 2 plastic containers, trash, and compost). The recyclables are stored on site for the entire year, until the annual barge day, when the recyclables, scrap metal, old appliances, and cars can be taken off the peninsula. Trash is flown out weekly, and contains only dry non-recyclable materials. Compost materials are combined and brought out past the settlement, near the former dump site where two Earth Tubs are utilized to produce compost.

 Sustainability at Kalaupapa National Historical Park is a top priority. Inspired by the beauty and significance of the land that Kalaupapa NHP is entrusted to manage, the Park

An old car being loaded onto this year’s barge

Service strives to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources found here. Following the success of the recycling and composting project, plans are currently underway to incorporate solar panels into Kalaupapa National Historical Park’s Sustainability Program.

For more information please see our website:


By: AM Borthwick

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