The fate of waste in Hawaii: Technology assessment and solid waste planning in Hawaii, 1968-78

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In this article I consider the initial period of solid waste management planning in the US state of Hawaii. The State encountered a number of economic and ecological controversies during its solid waste management planning, a process that was prompted by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Some issues, like project financing, were common across the US, while others, such as the potential of waste materials to reduce reliance on imported food and materials, were more unique to Hawaii. The controversies from this initial planning period were never quite fully resolved; as they lingered, they were interpreted differently across the Islands. Based on a close reading of government, advocacy group, waste industry and news media documents, I examine the controversies over solid waste management of the time and consider how the 'dual nature' of waste in Hawaii-simultaneously an ecological threat and (potential) economic input-shaped the adoption of solid waste management systems there. This article adds to an expanding literature examining infrastructure in environmental and technology histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalSingapore Journal of Tropical Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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