HONOLULU (KHON2) — A stricter ban on plastic will become law on Oahu after it has seen its fair share of revisions.
Businesses will have to phase out their inventory by 2021. By 2022, plastic and styrofoam food ware will be banned. That includes cups, plates, and clamshell containers.
“We wanted to give the local businesses time to get rid of the products they already have and look for new products,” said Tommy Waters.
Supporters of the measure say it’s finally time for a change.
But those against say it will hurt both local businesses and consumers.
“It’s been such a long conversation and the industry and businesses have had a really long time in discussion and make the transition and they haven’t made any steps so we’re hoping that would’ve been sooner,” said Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter Coordinator Doorae Shin.
The Honolulu City Council voted 7 to 2 in favor of banning restaurants from providing plastic utensils, straws, and stirrers to its customers, on Wednesday, December 4.
The ban even covers the decorative green plastic pieces used in bentos, along with styrofoam containers.
Jason Higa, the CEO of Zippy’s, released a statement regarding Bill 40:
We appreciate that Bill 40 was amended to address many of industry’s concerns. We were disappointed, however, in the way the process unfolded which resulted in hasty drafting and re-drafting of amendments, which is not the ideal way to develop new policies.
We look forward to working with all stakeholders to aid in the development of customer education and administrative rules to further define definitions and exemptions to aid with Bill 40’s enforcement.Jason Higa, CEO of Zippy’s
Pre-packaged foods are exempt from this ban and businesses are also able to apply for an exemption.
There was one big last-minute change — if a business is granted an exemption on an item, the supplier of that item would also be exempt from the ban.
“We think it’s going to result in job losses and increase costs businesses and consumers are going to have to absorb,” said Island Plastics Bags Inc. President Adrian Hong. “The exemption process is going to be incredibly difficult for businesses especially mom and pop they don’t have the resources to go to environmental services and slug it out.”