Zippy’s says stricter ban on plastics could cause closures

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A stricter plastic ban is headed to a final reading at the Honolulu City Council. If passed, one lawmaker says the city will help businesses deal with the change. But Zippy’s Restaurants say the ban could possibly lead to closures.

Under the proposal, no food business shall provide “single-use plastic service ware” to customers like containers and utensils, items you would normally use for takeouts.

The measure does include exemptions if businesses experience “undue hardship” and cannot meet the terms of the ban. Zippy’s tells us it’s not against the goal of cutting plastic waste, but says the exemption is unclear and concerning.

“The worst thing about Bill 40 is it only applies to local companies it does not apply to mainland companies and it’s an inherent unfairness,” said CEO Jason Higa of FCH Enterprises, the parent company of Zippy’s and Food Solutions International.

Zippy’s tells us the proposal could hurt its food manufacturer. Food Solutions International provides food not only to Zippy’s but other businesses and they use plastic packaging.

“We would be unable to use this (shows bag of chili) or be granted that exemption, but that exemption is one that comes with a lot of uncertainty. Would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for us to continue to reinvest in Food Solutions,” said Higa. “The downfall of Food Solutions International could result in the downfall of Zippy’s Restaurants.”

City Councilman Joey Manahan, who introduced the measure, says the Department of Environmental Services will work with the businesses. The specifics of granting exemptions will be hammered out in the administrative rules.

“There is public involvement in that process, in drafting the administrative rules, so I think everyone is going to have another bite at this apple,” said Councilman Manahan. “That’s not the intent of Bill 40. It’s not to hurt any of the small businesses or any business, any local businesses, really, what we are trying to get them to do is really change their behavior.”

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