Two proposed measures in Hawaii could make it the first state to aggressively ban plastics typically served in restaurants. Last year, California became the first state to ban full-service restaurants from automatically giving out plastic straws to all patrons and some U.S. cities have banned certain single-use items. Meanwhile, several corporations have made their own pledges to rid their packaging or service of certain items, mainly straws, to cut down on the amount of single-use plastics that end up in landfills and the ocean. Hawaii’s measures would be much more broad and ambitious than any of these efforts.
The measure SB367 SD1 HD1 will prohibit “sale of polystyrene foam food service containers and the sale or service of food using polystyrene containers statewide. (It also) authorizes the Department of Health to adopt rules for implementation including for enforcement, exemptions, and consumer education.”
Meanwhile, SB522 SD2 HD1 will be even more ambitious, prohibiting “the purchase, use, sale, or distribution of plastic beverage bottles, utensils, stirring sticks, polystyrene foam containers, plastic bags and straws by state and county agencies, restaurants, standard bars, and any other businesses or individuals on a certain date. (It) creates the plastic source reduction working group to make recommendations for eliminating single-use plastic packaging (and) establishes the Solid waste Prevention Coordinator while appropriating funds.”
“We have this reputation of setting the example for the world to follow, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” state Sen. Mike Gabbard, lead author of SB522, said to the Senate. “Our state can once again take the lead in protecting our environment.”