News Archive

Mahalo Waste & Recycling Workers

June 21, 2023

In honor of National Waste & Recycling Workers Week, HGEA would like to mahalo the work of these dedicated public servants who are helping to keep our communities clean and sustainable for future generations. These professionals provide critical services that educate the public on the importance of diverting trash from landfills, along with implementing strategies that keep our waters and land healthy. We're so proud to represent them. 

Here are a few of their stories:


  Tess Herman, Maui
Recycling Specialist IV, Maui County
Unit 13 Member

Every item has potential to be recycled. We develop programming for products that are not often thought about as traditional "recyclables," like your old car. With the help of our team, this past year I wrote and developed a new program to offer free towing and recycling of old unwanted junk vehicles for Maui County residents. I am proud of this accomplishment because getting a new government program up and running is a major challenge we overcame, and this program is a win-win for both residents and the environment alike.
Codie Jascor, Maui
Recycling Program Assistant, Maui County
Unit 3 Member

The most rewarding thing to me about being a waste and recycling worker is knowing that I’m making a difference in a place — Maui — that is special, sacred, and cherished to so many people. Doing this type of work allows our generation and many more to come to also enjoy this beautiful and special island.

Leinaala Mahi, Oahu
Recycling Specialist III, City & County of Honolulu
Unit 13 Member

My greatest pleasure comes from sharing, through public education, about the unique way we manage trash on Oahu. Approximately 10% of our island homes are powered from opala brought to H-POWER. Nearly 90% of garbage is diverted from the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill. Making sure that we are culturally appropriate, safe and thoughtful with our information and operations gives me personal satisfaction. My job gives me the opportunity to use my expertise as a cultural practitioner in my profession to enhance the community.

Tia Stupplebeen, Maui
Landfill Worksite Supervisor I, Maui County
Unit 3 Member

Being in the landfill industry is unforgiving at times — continuing to fill our land with trash saddens me. Knowing the great environmental impacts we can have on our surroundings and insuring we follow all governmental regulations is why I do my job. The reward will come when we move to alternative solutions, but for now, we do our best to protect the land, sea and air for our keiki, moopuna and all future generations.

Daezsa Tomas-Tamagawa, Kauai
Recycling Specialist I, Kauai County
Unit 13 Member

At my position as a Recycling/HI5 Specialist, I'm an educator, inspector, and creator. These duties contribute to our overall goal of reducing the amount of waste that goes to our landfill. One person can’t solve the growing (local and global) problem with waste, but one person can certainly help keep it going in the right direction. My duties help strengthen the community’s knowledge and encourage them to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. Let’s make aina-minded decisions automatic!

  Claire Randazzo, Maui
Recycling Program Assistant, Maui County
Unit 3 Member

With the Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division, we are working to serve the land, the island, and the people whose lives are here. Whether the reward is more nearsighted, seeing positive impact immediately following a project or cleanup, or farsighted, where the impacts are bit by bit and a long work in progress, all of these conscious efforts are to take care of the planet and the life that takes care of us in return. It is rewarding simply to put in the energy and time, and care for something bigger than myself.





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