Plastic Bag Ban to Include Fee on Oʻahu
Oʻahu’s plastic bag ban is now stronger. Starting July 1, 2018, grocery stores on Oʻahu are required to charge customers a minimum of 15 cents for each checkout bag. A fee on bags has proven effective in counties around the country to reduce waste and protect the environment. The intention is for residents and visitors of Oʻahu to make bringing their own reusable bags a regular habit. Additionally, by January 1, 2020, all of the thicker, so called “reusable” plastic checkout bags will no longer be considered “reusable,” banning them from use at grocery stores. Both of these updates to Oʻahu’s plastic bag ban are part of amendments that were approved by City Council and signed by the mayor in July of 2017. The ordinance still exempts restaurants.
This is one of many policy victories in Hawaiʻi around reduction of single-use plastics. Additionally, Hawaiʻi may become the first state to ban polystyrene foam food containers, with two out of four Hawaiʻi counties with policies in place. In Maui County, there is now an ordinance that prohibits the sale and use of polystyrene food containers as of Dec. 31, 2018. In Hawaiʻi County (Big Island), a ban on foam food containers goes into effect July 1, 2019.