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Ban: Hawaii First State to Ban Plastic Shopping Bags

Elizabeth Renter
January 25th, 2014
Updated 05/06/2014 at 10:11 pm
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plastic bags banned 263x164 Ban: Hawaii First State to Ban Plastic Shopping BagsEven with reusable shopping bags, most individuals inevitably end up with some of the annoying thin plastic ones around, perhaps shoved under the kitchen sink. Well in Hawaii, people will be dealing with a lot fewer of these plastic sacks as that state recently became the first to ban the bag at checkout and restaurants.

Honolulu County became the last of the state’s counties to ban the bags, completing the state’s ban as a whole, according to NBC News. Retailers have three years to get rid of their supply and come up with alternatives.

 “Passing the bans did take an effort – change always does—but people seemed to understand the need for such an effort,” said director of the Hawaii chapter of the Sierra Club environmental group Robert Harris.

The success of the bans is attributed to citizen action and conscientious Hawaiians. After all, it didn’t come from the legislature, but from all four county councils.

“This is groundbreaking. By signing this environmentally friendly bill, Honolulu joined our neighbor island counties,” said Honolulul Mayor Peter Carlisle, who had initially held back his support of the measure. “Hawaii has become the only state in the United States where every county has plastic bag legislation.”

Big News: Hawaii Bans GMO Biotech!

By July 1, 2015, retailers will have to switch to reusable bags or paper bags that are at least 40% recycled materials. Some are concerned the ban will lead to an overuse of paper bags. And while paper is biodegradable, it could still amount to significant waste.

“While we are excited that the plastic bag bans have been enacted, there has been a reported increase in paper bag use from locals,” said Bill Hickman, of the Surfrider Foundation, adding that his group might even lobby for a fee on paper bags at some point.

Overall, the ban is a step in the right direction and to have the activists there already considering contingency for when paper bags are overused is a good sign indeed. We can hope their motivation will be infectious and follow to the mainland.

“Being a marine state, perhaps, we are exposed more directly to the impacts of plastic pollution and the damage it does to our environment,” said Harris in 2012, according to Real Farmacy. “People in Hawaii are more likely to be in the water or in the outdoors and see the modern day tumbleweed — plastic bags — in the environment.”

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  • Undecider

    This is what you call phony environmentalism. It’s going to be interesting how the Asian markets in Southern California try to get this going. I was at one some time ago and this white girl was in line purchasing a beverage. The Korean cashier already bagged her item and the girl said, “I don’t need a bag! I have my own.” The cashier was confused.

    First off, there was a language barrier and secondly, no moron in an SoCal Asian market turns down a plastic bag. They get reused as trash bags. This situation was indicative of how the gullible ‘American’ (non-FOB Asian) crowd sucks up all this government fear mongering. I bet she bought the official story of global warming hook line and sinker while knowing nothing about the spread of radiation.

    The girl in line literally held things up while she was trying to refuse the plastic bag. Heck! She probably felt good about herself assuming she was ‘standing up for the environment.’ Girls like her are the end of America. Wake up a get a clue! You ever heard of reuse and recycle? Just take the damned bag with you! You can use it to scoop up the doggie poo for the mutt you have waiting at home because you don’t want kids because of the assumed over-population.

    Seriously, this whole bag ban thing is a total joke.

  • RealityCheck

    Oh good. More big government controlling our lives.

  • Jude

    While traveling thru Europe, if you wanted a plastic bag you would have to pay 25 cents per bag. That should deter some.

  • margaret Bartley

    Seattle also has a plastic bag ban, and it has had an inverse reaction. The grocery bags, which are banned, were universally used as liners for trash baskets, which are in businesses and homes throughout the city. Now, people have to buy their garbage bags, the smallest of which are too big for the trash baskets, so the bags are taken out to the garbage half full. Plus, the paid-for bags are a thicker plastic than the grocery bags. So MORE plastic is going into the garbage stream, not less.

    Plus, most people don’t take their groceries home and then take out the groceries, and then throw the plastic grocery bag out onto the street. Every home and a lot of businesses had a drawer or space to put those plastic bags to be reused.

    So the one useful bag is outlawed, meanwhile, all the stupid little useless bags are still being handed out, for people who buy an orange, and don’t want to touch it after it’s paid for?! Or buying a candy-bar at a drug store. Those are the bags that get tossed in the street, and those bags are still legal.

    This is more theatre than anything useful, and I hope people have their cynical eyes in when they read these articles.

    • Undecider

      This was a great move for the trash bag industry. They probably lobbied for this. You know government never truly legislates in the interest of the people.

  • signalfire1

    People can bring the reusable canvas bags to the store; and if they want to get rid of paper bags also, just have the option at the checkout – buy a canvas bag at cost + a few cents, until the demand becomes almost nil and everyone remembers to bring their bags with them. It’s time we stopped acting like the planet is disposable. The oceans have suffered enough insults for one thing.

  • BOKinLarksville

    GMO’s and now this.. I want to move there.. Only i can’t afford to live there… LOL