Stricter plastic bag ban starts Jan. 1 on Oahu

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Another change is coming to Oahu’s plastic bag ban in the new year.

Right now, grocery and other stores can still provide you a thicker-reusable plastic bag or a compostable bag for a fee.

However, starting January 1, no plastic bags of any kind can be provided at checkout.

This was part of an ordinance that passed a few years ago. The first part of the bill, enacted in 2018, required people to pay 15 cents if they wanted a bag from a business. This included thicker plastic bags or compostable bags.

Suzanne Frazer, Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii (B.E.A.C.H.) Co-founder said when the first wave of changes with the plastic bag ban happened, they were still finding bag after bag littering the beach.

“Neither the switch to thicker bags or the fee has resulted in making a difference to getting rid of plastic bags. So, the only way to really make a difference is to ban them,” said Frazer.

Plastic bags for take-out food is still allowed, but those will be banned in 2021 under a recently passed law by the Honolulu City Council and Mayor. Plastic bags with handles to carry out loose fruit and medicine will also be banned.

Along with that, things such as polystyrene foam containers, plastic utensils and straws will also be prohibited from being sold in 2022.

Businesses that do not comply may have to pay a fine up to a thousand dollars a day.

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