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Bring Your Own! Hawaii Co. Plastic Bag Ban Becomes Effective Next Week

  |  Big Island Communities: News, Sustainability and Off-Grid Living
Hawaii County Plastic Bag Ban

Bring Your Own Bag!

Hawaii County’s “Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance” To Take Effect January 17

Hawaii Island is joining the islands of Maui and Kauai in banning single-use plastic “carryout” bags.¬†Grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets and other retailers must comply with the new ordinance, which takes effect on Thursday, January 17.

For one year, businesses can provide a single-use plastic bag to customers, but they must charge a fee. All single-use plastic bags are prohibited after January 17, 2014.

Exempt from this ban are plastic bags for bulk items, including meat, fish, nuts, grains, fresh produce and prescription drugs. Non-profit organizations are not subject to the plastic bag ban.

There are four primary reasons for the law, according to the County of Hawaii’s hawaiizerowaste.org website:

  • Plastic bags can entangle or choke fish, turtles, birds and other animals that mistake plastic for food.
  • Plastic bags contribute to litter, especially because they are easily carried by the wind.
  • Plastic bags degrade into unsafe chemicals.
  • Single use plastic bags are not consistent with the County’s goal to reduce the quantity of materials going into the landfills.

The Zero Waste website also has these tips for remembering and caring for your reusable bags:

  • Keep reusable bags by the door, in your car, or near your car keys.
  • Keep foldable bags in pockets, backpacks, or your purse.
  • Keep bags clean by washing them regularly.
  • Give reusable bags to your friends & family.

Learn more at hawaiizerowaste.org

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