Taking residential trash to the road

Believe it or not there is just one company that offers residential trash pickup for our home located in the Kailua-Kona area. This was a big surprise to us coming from the mainland where there were a ton of options to choose from.

The most widely available residential trash pickup at your home in the Kailua-Kona, Hawaii area check out PFI Rubbish. They can be reached at (808) 329-3440. Another company if you are closer to “downtown” Kona is Rainbow Trash & Recycling which does both trash and recycle pickup.  They can be reached via call or text at (808) 938-6936.  But many people don’t utilize residential trash pickup and you may not want to either.

The Only Residential Trash Service for Us in Kona (plus one more)

Upon arriving to Hawaii we started to arrange all the household services we would need including electricity, gas, water, cable and…trash. I looked up Kona trash service companies and started making phone calls to do a little shopping around.

PFI Rubbish Kona HawaiiI quickly realized there was no point of shopping because there was just one company. PFI Rubbish.

I found this to be quite strange moving from Colorado because we have about 10 or 15 different trash companies to choose from. Not so much here in Kona, Hawaii.’

UPDATE: Rainbow Recycling offers both residential trash and recycling pickup if you are located in their service area.  Their service area runs south of Palani to Keahou and Holualoa Makai to Alii Dr.

Reasonable Pricing

Despite being the only residential trash company in the area they still have pretty reasonable prices (as of Aug 5, 2019):

  • Kona and Holualoa: $25.72/mo
  • Puuloa, Ihilani and Honalo: $26.75/mo
  • Kealakekua, Captain Cook and Honaunau: $29.84/mo
  • Waikoloa and Waimea: $24.10/mo
  • Waikii Ranch: $31.90/mo
  • Kohala Ranch, Kohala Estates and Kohala by the Sea: $31.90/mo
  • Mauna Kea and Mauna Lani: $24.69/mo

Outside of the normal monthly billing is a one-time start of service fee of $30.00.

Service Limits & Special Pickups

Depending on your area and whether you have elected to do manual or automated service will determine the limits on how much PFI Rubbish will pick up each week.

For Manual Service we are allowed up to 90 pounds each pickup. Manual Service refers to bagging our own trash and setting the bags next to the street for pickup. More on that in a moment…

For Automated Service where they provide you with a 64 gallon bin you are limited base don that one bin but can request additional bins for just $4/mo.

If you have a situation that requires a special pickup of some sort such as furniture, beds, large number of boxes or appliances PFI offers pick up starting at $50 per load plus $1.00 per minute of loading time. They recommend contacting them to get more specific pricing.

Scott taking trash down long driveway Hawaii

We Have a Long Driveway!

The home we bought has a lot of privacy. Part of the reason for the privacy is where our house is situated on our lot. The house is towards the back of the lot where the elevation is quite a bit higher than it is at the front of the lot.

This is good for a few reasons. Not only privacy but also the view. If the house were sitting next to the road our view would be obstructed by the home across the street or the larger tress a little further down.

But there is one big drawback. The driveway is long and somewhat steep. And as we were purchasing the home the driveway was one of those charming aspects of the home and living in Hawaii.

But, as I was setting up trash service I quickly realized that driveway was going to be a problem. Was I going to have to tack the trash down that driveway each week or would the trash company come up to the top of the driveway?

I called PFI Rubbish to find out. They let me know that they do have door pickup service for those of us with longer driveways. They said they would need to send a driver out there to check out the driveway and provide a quote for that additional service.

About a week later I got a call with the pricing. Although not terrible, it wasn’t worth it to me. To get trash service at the top of the driveway rather than at the road nearly doubled the cost of service. I guess I would be getting my exercise each Wednesday morning!

Honestly it hasn’t been that bad. Normally we have one, maybe two bags of trash. Depending on how heavy they are I will either just take the bag down on its own or I will wheel our bin down to the road, put the bags out and then wheel the bin back up.

Trash Service Alternatives

Curious about what people do about trash service here in Kona I decided to ask a few friends who have lived here for a while. Here’s what I found out.


There are a lot of condos in the area and most of them have large trash bins for the residents to dump their trash. There are quite a few commercial trash companies that service the condos and businesses in the area that handle this type of trash pickup service.

Kealakehe Transfer Station

For those that do not live in a condo the popular option seems to be dropping off their rubbish at the Kealakehe Transfer Station.

I found this to be surprising but it is actually quite common for residents of the Kona, Hawaii area to load up their trucks or cars and drop off their trash at the local dump. There is no cost to gain access or dump trash at the transfer station but is limited to “household generated self-haul rubbish”. No commercial or farm waste is allowed to be dumped here.

By the way, it is called a transfer station because they collect the trash at these locations and then transfer it to a landfill.

The Kealakehe Transfer Station is open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day.

Mixed recycling at Kealakehe Transfer Station Kona Hawaii-min

Recycling Options

Recycling in the back of the carAnother service we got used to in Colorado was residential recycling pickup. The same company we used for trash took recycling too! We didn’t even have to sort the recycling.

Well, as I bet you guessed, there is no residential recycling pickup here in Kona!

Instead, if you want to recycle you are left with having to drop off those items at the Kealakehe Transfer Station’s Recycling Center.

2-Bin Recycling

Following the rules for recycling is quite easy with their 2-bin recycling.

Bin #1: Mixed

The first bin if for all the mixed recycling including paper, cardboard, metal cans and plastic.

Bin #2: Glass

The second bin is for all glass containers such as wine or liquor bottles, food jars and makeup or perfume containers.

One thing to be aware of is that beer bottles are NOT acceptable as they are redeemable as part of the HI-5 Beverage Container Redemption program.


The whole trash and recycling process took a bit to get used to but now it is just part of our normal day-to-day life. Each Wednesday we take our one to two bags of trash down to the bottom of our driveway. And about every month we take a quick trip over to the recycling center to drop off our recycling. Simple as that.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Adam

    Big time Mahalo for this informative piece! We lived on the east side of the island and only had access to the local transfer station. As we seek to return, it’s great to get a breakdown of the trash service options on the west side!

    Thanks/Maholo again!

    1. Calling Kona Home

      Things have changed a bit since this post was published. I have seen others with trash service with other companies so it may be worth looking around a bit for the best company for you.

  2. Mika

    no more mixed recycling on Hawaii Island. I think the year you moved was the last year they stopped that and now all mixed goes to landfill – frustrating.

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