New proposal seeks to ban plastic utensils and straws

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Under a new proposal in the Honolulu City Council, businesses won’t be able to give out plastic forks, knives, spoons, straws or even a plastic take out bag. It was introduced by City Council Member Joey Manahan.

Bryan Andaya, the president and COO of L&L Hawaiian Barbeque said if this bill passes, his business would find alternative options for its customers, but any extra costs could be passed down.

“It would be about five times more to have a paper bag that’s sturdy enough, right? Because you don’t want the bottom falling through and someone’s plate lunch all over the floor,” said Andaya.

Andaya says the changes could boost the price of a plate lunch by about one or two dollars.

“That definitely affects the consumer, and if they’re strapped for money, you know, they’re going to have to make choices somehow,” said Andaya.

He says for smaller businesses that would be a difficult burden.

“We raise prices 5 percent, we normally experience a drop in sales of about 5 to10 percent,” said Andaya. “A 10 percent drop in sales, that could really affect the bottom line, and for a lot of restaurants, that’s their paycheck.”

For customers, they say they’re worried the most about the plastic utensils.

“I think it’s confusing,” said Michelle Dolan, an Oahu resident. “If I’m going go down and eat something to go, I’m going to need something to eat it with, and that’s what the whole idea is. I don’t want to have to bring something with me.”

“I don’t want to have to bring my own utensil, so I don’t know what the next option is gonna be if we don’t have the plastic silverware. What will we use?,” said Dolan.

Others say it’s a step in the right direction to preserve the planet.

“I have bamboo utensils so it’s really easy for you to carry that stuff around, just bring it back, you can wash it in the bathroom, you can wash it back at your apartment,” said Mark Haver.

The bill has not yet been heard at the City Council.

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