Earlier last week, Oahu became the latest Hawaiian island to pass legislature banning the distribution of single-use plastic bags. Under the new guidelines, paper bags will be allowed only if they are made of at least 40% recycled material.
“This is a bold action and I think here in the state of Hawaii we have always been bold, especially when it comes to protecting our environment,” said Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, who co-sponsered the initiative with Honolulu City Council Chair, Ernie Martin.
The law will go into effect in July of 2015, giving storeowners three years to deplete their current inventories.
“I’m confident when we reach 2015 we will have progressed to a point where the cost of a biodegradable plasticbags will be no different from the price of bags that are given out now,” said Council Chair Martin.
Oahu, home to Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu as well as the legendary North Shore surf spot, is the pacific island chain’s most populous island, with an approximate population of 953,207.
They join Kaua‘i, Maui and the Big Island (who just passed a ban this past January) in implementing similar bans. This is no small feat, and will make Hawaii the first US state with a complete, statewide plastic bag ban.
Learn more about plastic pollution and what you can do to help at seathos.org/movement/pollution/.