Stores react to new bag fee

paper bags

On July 1, 2018, stores across Oahu were required to start charging $.15 per bag at checkout.

While many people remembered to bring their reusable bags today, others did not. 

“My employees noticed slight change in people’s feelings due to the ban, they don’t want to pay $.15 for a brown bag,” said Foodland manager Ninja Thang.

The new fee applies to compostable, recyclable paper and reusable bags, and applies to any store or market that provides bags.

“I can see why they’re doing it, but it’s kind of just a hassle having to pay the $.15,” says Honolulu resident Micah Iaea. “It’s just $.15 but then again—no one wants to pay that,” he added.

The rule also doesn’t apply to…

  • Bags used by customers inside a business to package loose items, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, ground coffee, grains, candies, or small hardware items;
  • Bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, flowers or potted plants, or other items to contain dampness;
  • Bags used to protect or transport prepared foods, beverages, or bakery goods;
  • Bags provided by pharmacists to contain prescription medications;
  • Newspaper bags for home newspaper delivery;
  • Door-hanger bags;
  • Laundry, dry cleaning, or garment bags, including bags provided by hotels to guests to contain wet or dirty clothing;
  • Bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags;
  • Bags used to contain live animals, such as fish or insects sold in pet stores;
  • Bags used to transport chemical pesticides, drain-cleaning chemicals, or other caustic chemicals sold at the retail level

“We went to Nordstrom for lunch and we had some leftovers and they gave us a bag without even asking,” said shopper Ryan Hinchcliff.

Stores we spoke with said for the most part people remembered their bags, while others say some stores didn’t charge the $.15 fee. 

We spoke with Tina Yamaki, President of Retail Merchants of Hawaii this week, she said retailers that don’t charge the fee could be fined $100 to $1,000 per incident, per day.

According to Bill 59, 

this ordinance is intended to reduce the volume of plastic and non-recyclable paper bags that are disposed of as solid waste.

“It’s super refreshing to be out here and see how much care this is for trying to care for the Earth here in Hawaii,” said shopper Alison Ho. 

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