Participants happily stood in line for ono kine grinds!
Earring made from a soda tab
Some participants wore repurposed projects.

On a April 11 Honolulu Community College students, faculty, staff and administrators gathered along the mall and the campus māla for its annual Hoʻolauleʻa. This annual event celebrated the creation of and harvest from Ka Māla o Niuhelewai (The Garden of Niuhelewai), as well as Native Hawaiian cultural traditions and sustainability.

This year’s event featured imu (earthen oven) prepared food; kuʻi ʻai (poi made by hand pounding kalo) and ʻuala (sweet potato) from the māla; music provided by Honolulu CC faculty, staff, students and community musicians; interactive activities; information exhibits; and the collegeʻs 4th annual repurpose/recycle/upcycle contest Trash to Treasure.

Kūlana Hawaiʻi: Hawaiian Programs Division, Career Services (Career Exploration), Student Life and Development, and the Sustainability Committee collaborated to make this yearʻs event a reality.

Participants were encouraged to practice sustainability by bringing their own reusable containers, utensils and beverage flask for their lunch. One of the event’s goals was to maintain mālama ʻāina by eliminating the use of paper goods and Styrofoam products and alleviating the amount of trash produced. If participants did not bring containers they could construct plates by weaving launiu (coconut leaves) or ti leaves. Students could receive a reusable lunch container bought with student funds, after they completed an “event passport.”

Each year the Honolulu CC ʻohana is challenged to re-purpose material(s) usually thrown away into something with a practical or artistic purpose in the Trash to Treasure contest.


This year there were two competition categories: student projects and faculty/staff/admin Projects. The competition attracted more than 30 entries. More than 160 people participated in voting for their favorite piece.

Regienald Cacpal won the student category with Tire Tank, a fish pond with component to circulate the water, and Robert Silva won the faculty/staff/admin category with his Newspaper Canoe.

See more images at the Honolulu CC flickr album.

Read more about the winners at the Honolulu CC blog.