State officials trace the problem back to October 2015.

Costco brought in pallets and pallets of water to meet the demand for supplies during the close calls we had during last year's hurricane season.

But customers across the state are just finding out those bottles are being rejected by recycling centers because they don't have the proper HI-5 labels.

"I hadn't heard of it. I'm not sure if I have any that come from Costco,” said Debbie Snell who dropped off two bags full of containers.

Neither did another man who had two large garbage bins full of Kirkland bottles.

He wasn't very happy to learn he would have to take them back where he bought them.

Costco said it brought in shipping containers full of the bottles, and six months later, customers are still trying to bring them into the redemption centers

"If you purchased any of the unlabeled containers you can take it back to Costco. Or if you have the receipt, I believe their inventory can tell and verify it that way, and they will reimbursed them the five cents," said the State Health Department’s Steve Chang.

The state said it fined Costco $16,000 for improper labeling after it began seeing the containers on the neighbor islands last fall.

“So, 1.2 million containers were brought into the state. Costco chose not to pull them and continued selling them so we cited them for the penalty,” said Chang.

Chang said in addition to that, customers are finding fewer recycling centers to redeem their bottles and cans these days. 

"Throughout the country, and probably the world the commodity for paper plastic aluminum and scrap metal is seeing a dramatic drop. So the recycling industry is hurting pretty bad right now," Chang said.

A world of hurt means fewer jobs, longer waits, and shorter hours.  Chang said 24 centers shut down since last October.

Reynolds Recycling, one of the larger companies, cut 19 centers and laid off more than 40 workers.

Meanwhile, the state is making it easier for residents to locate recycling centers.  A new mapping tool allows users to search for HI-5 recycling centers and operating times.  Users just need to type in an address and the nearest centers are listed.  The web site is also optimized for mobile devices.