Maui News

Maui Polystyrene Ban Takes Effect Dec. 31

December 27, 2018, 9:54 AM HST
* Updated December 27, 10:30 AM
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Maui’s polystyrene ban for food containers goes into effect on Dec. 31, 2018. Maui Now graphic.

A bill restricting the use and sale of polystyrene foam food service containers in Maui County goes into effect on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018.

Supporters of the bill tout the environmental benefits, while opponents have cited concerns about the cost and lack of recycling options for alternative containers.

The ban was signed into law in 2017, giving manufacturers, distributors and retailers who buy, sell and use takeout food containers time to adjust to the new market.

The law does not apply to polystyrene foam food containers used for raw or butchered meats, poultry, fish or eggs unless provided for consumption without further food preparation such as sashimi and poke.

Also, polystyrene foam coolers and ice chests specifically designed and manufactured for multiple re-use are exempt from the law, as are foam blocks or pieces used as protective packaging during shipping.

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According to information compiled by the Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division, the ban includes expanded polystyrene foam or EPS food service containers including: hinged clamshell containers, cups, plates, bowls, and serving trays. If food or beverages can be served on or in it and its made of EPS, its not allowed after Dec. 31, 2018.

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Businesses that need clarification of guidelines can call the Environmental Protection & Sustainability Hotline at (808) 270-7880.

The consequences for non-compliance include a notice of violation requiring that the violation be corrected before a specified date.  Fines not to exceed $1,000 may be issued with civil fines of up to $1,000 per day possible for each day the violation persists.

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