Disclaimer: The following information is anecdotal; I was unable to locate adequate numbers of third-party references to substantiate some of the following claims.
Photo: Barges from Hawaii moored at the Port of Longview WA containing shrink-wrapped garbage in metal containers to be disposed of in Oregon land fills.
During our ten-day stay at our resort on the Big Island, the maid service came in twice to tidy our room and change the linens. Our kitchen was fully equipped and included a large blue recycling container. As recycling is embraced in Oregon with almost religious fervor, we dutifully placed our newspapers, cans, bottles and cardboard packaging in the recycling container. So we were quite surprised (and disappointed) on two occasions to later find large clear plastic bags outside the front door of our condo with our recycling mixed in with our general trash.
During our stay we had dinner one night with our friends Lorraine and Neil who were born and raised on the Big Island. Over dinner we related our experience with the recycling-trash at our resort. Our friends explained that, although Hawaii has a recycling “program”, there is no residential curb-side pick up of recycling; instead everyone must physically bring their recycling to a center. In fact we had noticed when we arrived at their home that they had two large barrels filled with aluminum cans in their car port.
Our friends told us that Hawaii had enacted a 5-cent deposit on liquid containers. However many of these still end up in the trash as so many of the tourists to the state come from states where bottle deposits are an unfamiliar concept.
The imperative for Hawaii to begin recycling came to a head roughly four years ago when the landfill on Oahu became full. A proposal was then made to ship Hawaii’s garbage to Oregon for disposal. However Oregonians balked at accepting garbage because: “Hawaiians recycle less than 25 percent of their sold waste. Oregonians, by comparison, recycle more than 50 percent of their waste.” 
Apparently the State of Hawaii contracted with a company to manage recycling on all the Hawaiian Islands. However a subsequent drop in the market for recycled plastic and increased fuel and other overhead costs have since rendered the program no longer cost effective. As a result, a three year accumulation of recycling material is allegedly being stored unprocessed in warehouses.
Beginning January 1st of this year, plastic (checkout counter) bags will be banned on the Big Island.  These have become a litter problem and the bags blown into the ocean threaten marine wildlife.
Up to now, Hawaii has generally been able to ignore its material waste disposal. But in a state where the cost of living is extremely high, making recycling programs cost-effective will remain a significant challenge in Paradise.
1. Don’t encourage Hawaii to send its trash, Portland Tribune, Oct. 30, 2009
2. Plastic Bags Banned On Hawaii’s Big Island, Beth Buczynski, Jan. 30, 2012, care2.com