Nicole Huguenin, Lead Innovator at Aloha Alliances, sharing about the Redefining Waste Initiative on a local radio show

Aloha Alliances with Nicole Huguenin – Redefining Waste Initiative

Date grant awarded: June 14, 2019

Aloha Alliances and its founder Nicole Huguenin inspire trust and restore value through community-driven initiatives that respond to pressing local issues in Maui, Hawaii. As of January 2018, the ability to recycle anything beyond #1 & 2 plastic in the state of Hawaii stopped abruptly with the refusal of China to purchase all other recyclables. Additionally, the island’s only landfill has been slated to be at capacity in 3.5 years, 2022 since it’s inception. Each county in Hawaii has it’s own waste infrastructure and the island of Maui specifically has limited recycling resources. It has relied on shipping these things off the island in the past however now that China does not take these things there is nowhere for them to go than the landfill. Due to this and a record increase in tourists, and their accompanying waste, in the past year, the landfill will be at capacity 1-2 before it was anticipated to be. Preparations for a new landfill are not slated to begin until 2021, leaving a 1-2 year gap if current waste practices stay the same.

Instead of telling people how they should become zero waste Aloha Alliances help people to actually experience their own waste and redefine their relationship to it within a community environment. From their first few events, community members have already offered to share their skills in repairing items and teaching people how to make things from reused products. For example, they already have a homeless person who will be repairing guitars and electronics. This model not only has the ability to change individual behavior but also repair and strengthen communities. Second, their model also incorporates partnerships with organizations already working in the industry. Aloha Alliances takes on the risk of experimenting with new projects, inventions, and program models and then passes off the results to their organizational partners so they can implement and maintain at a larger scale. This particular community initiative focuses on redefining our collective relationship to waste. With funds from The Pollination Project, they will be able to purchase a mobile trailer, enabling them to attend large community events and curate experiences for people to up-cycle, repair, borrow, swap, and recycle their stuff effectively limiting what goes into the landfill.