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County to Consider Plastic Bag, To Go Container Restrictions

October 26, 2016, 3:16 PM HST · Updated October 28, 8:30 AM
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Maui County photo.

The use of reusable plastic bags and polystyrene food containers in the county will be considered on Monday, Oct. 31, at 1:30 p.m. in Maui County Council Chambers.

Maui County led the state with the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance in January 2011, banning single-use plastic bags at checkout.

The law permits establishments to opt for a thicker kind of reusable plastic bag that carry an even more significant environmental impact than single-use plastic bags, said Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee Chair Elle Cochran.

“Thick reusable plastic bags still end up in our landfills and take longer to break down,” Cochran said. “This appears to be a loophole in the legislation that has a greater potential to harm our environment.”

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Under new legislation proposed by Cochran, the plastic bag ban would be expanded to include thick reusable plastic bags.

Cochran’s bill would also prohibit businesses from providing plastic bags for transporting goods, whether at checkout or any other point.

The bill would exempt plastic bags used to package loose items such as fruits, vegetables and nuts; bags to contain or wrap frozen goods; and bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage or yard waste.

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The committee will also discuss the restriction of single-use expanded polystyrene food service ware, including a review of the report submitted by a task force led by Councilmember Michael Victorino in 2014. A copy of the report is available online.

“The plastic bag and polystyrene food service ware bills are tools to help combat litter and address the problem of plastic marine debris on a global scale,” Cochran said. “We need to look at all the ways we can protect our environment for future generations.”

The meeting is open to the public.

Testimony may be emailed to [email protected], referencing IEM-56 for plastic bag reduction and IEM-05 for polystyrene food service containers.

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