Maui Discussion

Ask The Mayor: Why Does Maui Still Sell Styrofoam Coolers?

April 28, 2019, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated April 28, 11:13 AM
Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his staff.

Q:  I work in a very large resort on the bell staff. I have been seeing many styrofoam coolers brought in by guests of the hotel. When I questioned the guest, they told me they bought them here on Maui at a local store. I thought we banned all styrofoam containers in Maui? Are these styrofoam coolers legal? If the coolers are not banned, they need to be as they are super flimsy and break very easily.

A:  This is a very timely question as our state and counties continue to look at decreasing single-use plastics, which are harmful to our ocean and environment.

I’ve long been an advocate of restricting plastic usage, dating back to my time as a council member in 2009 when I introduced a bill to regulate the use and sale of polystyrene food wares. I again, reintroduced the measure in 2014, where it was referred to committee and eventually passed by the Maui County Council in 2017.

While the ban went into effect at the end of last year, polystyrene foam coolers were among the exemptions. Other exceptions to the ban were polystyrene ice chests, foam blocks and packing peanuts used as protective packaging during shipping. Butchered meats, poultry, fish and eggs also may be put in polystyrene containers.


Those not in compliance could face civil penalties of up to $1,000 a day.


Polystyrene coolers still present a danger to our environment and ocean wildlife, but I understand that the Polystyrene Foam Food Service Container Ordinance specifically targeted reduction efforts in the foodservice industry. There are currently no mandates in place that legally restrict the sale of this type of cooler.

There is still much work to be done in reducing polystyrene products in our county and I strongly encourage all residents and visitors to always care for our environment.



Want to Ask The Mayor?

Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at (808) 270-7855 or via mail to 200 S. High Street, ninth floor, Wailuku, Hawaiʻi 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information
E-Mail Newsletters Receive daily or weekly updates via e-mail. Subscribe Now
News Alerts Breaking news alerts on your mobile device. Get the App


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments