The Hawaii State Auditor is once again expressing disappointment with the Deposit Beverage Container Program.

It its fifth audit of the program, released Tuesday, the agency says the program continues to rely on self-reported data from distributors that may be “fraudulently or erroneously” underreporting sold or distributed containers, and that redemption centers may be “fraudulently or erroneously” over-reporting redeemed containers.

Conclusion: “This systemic flaw, coupled with the absence of a detailed audit function, has exposed the program to abuse and risk of fraud since program inception.”

Indeed, from fiscal years 2013 to 2014, the program paid $2.6 million in deposit refunds for 3.5 million pounds of recycled materials that cannot be accounted for. (Italics mine.)

auditor's image on recycling

The Department of Health administers the program and, says the auditor, has known about the problem since 2006 but has done little to address it. (Italics still mine.)

The DOH accepts many of the latest findings but takes issue with what it considers a couple of “incomplete findings” regarding reimbursements.

The DOH is also not satisfied with the layout of the auditor’s report, “claiming that certain formatting effects could be misleading and create confusion.”

In response, the auditor tweaked a few things but says it stands by the report.

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