Oahu to enforce plastic bag ban

June 22, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ News

HONOLULU (AP) – Honolulu is set to become the last county in Hawaii to ban plastic checkout bags.


Starting July 1, businesses won’t be allowed to provide plastic bags and non-recyclable paper bags at the time of customer checkout.

The law was first approved by the Honolulu City Council three years ago, amended last year and then signed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, reported The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1K6eohx).

The law is welcomed by those who see it as better for the environment. However, many merchants view the additional costs that are in store as burdensome.

“When there’s a new fee here and a new fee there, plus a new regulation here and a new regulation there, it can add up to a lot of money, especially for a small business trying to make rent at the end of the month,” Sheri Sakamoto, president of the Honolulu-based Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

Sakamoto is also worried about the potential increase in shoplifting that the new law could create, as customers are armed with their own bags, she said.

Acceptable bags under the new law include compostable plastic bags, recyclable paper bags that contain a minimum of 40 percent post-consumer recycled content, and reusable bags, which may be made of fabric or other durable material suitable for reuse.

The city Department of Environmental Services recently distributed 9,000 bag ban information sheets and forms to Oahu businesses.

The businesses must decide by the start date how they plan to comply with the ordinance.

“It’s crazy,” said Adrian Hong, president of Island Plastic Bags in Aiea, one of Oahu’s few plastic bag manufacturers and distributers.

“I’m getting five to 10 calls a day. A lot of people still haven’t figured out what they’re going to do.”

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