HONOLULU (KHON2) — Starting this week, the city will begin enforcing its ban on plastic utensils, straws, and bags.
The law is broken up into phases. In the first phase, which starts April 1, businesses will need to switch out petroleum-based utensils, stirrers, and straws for either paper or compostable materials. And these service ware must be provided upon request.
The ban became law on Jan. 1 but because of hardships caused by the pandemic, the city granted businesses a 90-day education period. That expires at the end of this month.
The Hawaii Restaurant Association wants the ban pushed back two more years.
“We’re still having supply chain challenges,” said Victor Lim of HRA. “We are not sure because this whole pandemic is a global affair. The supply chain globally gets impacted. So the suppliers that we have dealt with are telling us that yes, today the cost is three times more. But whether I can constantly get the product on a regular basis or the fact that I can hold this price, they all told us it is going to be a challenge.”
The city says no further extensions have been granted. The Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter says many restaurants have made the switch voluntarily.
“This is not something that is a surprise to the restaurant industry,” said Doorae Shin of Surfrider. “This is something that they should’ve been preparing for for a long time. What’s unfortunate is they have asked for more time pretty much every single year for the last 13 years. We’ve really want to emphasize that the alternatives have always been available.”
Starting Jan. 1 of next year, businesses are not allowed to use or sell Styrofoam products with certain exceptions.