Maui’s Plastic Bag Ban Takes Effect January 11, 2011
By Wendy Osher
On the eve of Maui County’s Plastic Bag ban, MauiNOW.com sits down with former Councilman and current Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Michael Molina, who introduced the bill three years ago. The countywide ordnance, which goes into effect on Tuesday, January 11, 2011, bans the issuance of plastic bags to consumers at the point of sale for transporting groceries or other goods.
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The bill deals specifically with trying to control litter and protecting the environment, including impacts to marine animals that can become entangled in plastics or ingest the material. “The county spends roughly $130,000 a year just to clean up plastic bags from our landfills,” said Molina. “So this is one way the public’s tax dollars can be saved, and it’s also good for our environment to keep our oceans clean,” said Molina.
The Maui County Council passed the bill in August of 2008, but implementation was delayed to allow time for businesses to utilize supplies on hand.
As far as enforcement, Molina is asking the public to report any violations to the county for followup. Violations of the law will result in administrative warnings and fines.
“The law would apply to those t-shirt type of plastic bags with the handles that float away. It does not apply to the vegetable plastic bags,” Molina explained.
Molina says the example the county can set with the law is a good one. “The perception that Maui can give off to all of our visitors and residents that we truly care in keeping our ‘aina and water clean,” said Molina.
“I am glad that Maui County is taking this step to protect our environment,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “San Francisco passed this law several years ago but only to ban plastic bags at large supermarkets and chain drugstores. Our law addresses all businesses,” said Arakawa.