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Maui ban on disposable bodyboards takes effect on Tuesday

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Disposable bodyboards. Photo courtesy: KHON2

A new law banning the sale, rental, and distribution of disposable polystyrene bodyboards goes into effect on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.

The ordinance to amend the original plastic bag ban was introduced last year by Councilmember Tamara Paltin to limit the number of bodyboards discarded on beaches after few uses.

“As a former Ocean Safety Lieutenant, I’ve seen the pollution and harm that disposable polystyrene boogie boards can cause,” Councilmember Paltin said in County issued press release. “It makes much more environmental sense for visitors to rent a durable bodyboard that can be returned after use. Residents should not own disposable boards at all.”

County officials note that disposable bodyboards are not durable and are easily broken during use, spreading small bits of polystyrene foam on the beach and in the ocean.

“Polystyrene is a known environmental health hazard: toxins in foamed polystyrene, one of the most abundant forms of global pollution, leach into the ocean and animals, including seabirds and turtles, die of starvation and malnutrition after mistaking the small pieces of foam for food,” the release said.

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The Maui County ordinance was passed unanimously by attending Councilmembers and signed into law by Mayor Michael Victorino on Aug. 9, 2021.

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“It’s time for all of us to eliminate disposable products to the extent possible,” said Mayor Victorino. “Everyone can save money and help the environment by replacing disposables with reusable products.”

Ordinance No. 5236 identifies “disposable bodyboards” as having a polystyrene foam core, and encourages the use of environmentally-safer and rider-responsive alternatives such as “durable bodyboards” made with high-density polyethylene or polypropylene cores.

Businesses, including those providing visitor accommodations, are encouraged to rent or loan durable bodyboards to their guests, promoting reusable recreation and sustainable tourism.

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Questions about compliance with the new law can be directed to the County Environmental Protection & Sustainability Division by emailing [email protected] or by calling 808-270–7631.

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