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Big Island of Hawai’i Latest to Ban Plastic Bags

Scott Cooney | Thursday January 19th, 2012 | 6 Comments

In December, the Hawai’i County Council passed a bill banning the use of plastic bags on what is known as the “Big Island” of Hawai’i. Yesterday, Mayor Billy Kenoi signed the bill into law. Kenoi had the option to simply abstain and let the bill pass into law, but his signature adds political credibility to the increasing trend of plastic bag bans across the world.

The Big Island now joins the islands of Maui and Kauai in the ban of plastic bags. Honolulu County, which contains the island of Oahu, where the majority of the population of the state of Hawai’i lives, has struggled to pass similar legislation, though a new version of a bill that has not passed yet will come before the county council this year.

Kenoi acknowledged plastic bags often become litter when he said, “this bill holds the promise of keeping our island clean, healthy and safe, and we need to finish the job.”

Some businesses have misgivings, citing the extra cost of providing paper bags to customers. Realistically, however, businesses are best at reducing costs. With the level playing field of having no plastic bags allowed, businesses might now consider charging 5 or 10 cents for each paper bag given, and providing real incentives for shoppers to bring their own bags.

The bill won’t take effect until January 17, 2013, and businesses on the Big Island will still be able to give plastic bags for one additional year, the extra time given to allow businesses to get rid of any inventory they have and not get stuck with them.



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Photo credit Kouk on Flickr Creative Commons


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  • http://profiles.google.com/rico417 joseph bugado

    this mayor dont care for the people all his thinking of is surfing  and riding motorcycle in the RAIN we the people must VOTE this guy out of OFFICE lets VOTE for HARRY KIN

  • http://profiles.google.com/rico417 joseph bugado

    NEW  i am tired of paying high  bags fees our cost of livings is very high here in hawaii mr mayor think about the poor people who have to carry bags on a bike and the old lady carrying bags in the rain THIS IS HILO  WE HAVE 200 INCHES OF RAIN A YEAR  MAUI AND HONOLULU NO MORE RAIN LIKE US IN HILO MR MAYOR BILLY KENOI YOUR A FOOL SIGNING THAT BILL

  • Anonymous

    Hawaii (more than any other state) needs to lead the sustainable future. Keep up the good work!

    • joseph

      move out of hawaii if you dont want plastic bags go back where you came from

  • Aloha41

    Reusable bags are cheap and some (made out of nylon) are small enough to keep in your pocket! If you care about Hawaii, you to can do your part.

  • Hilogreasedisposal

    Linen bags are how it used to be when u went to the market and how it should be.
    Is Harry Kim running again?  Regardless of What Billy does..he will not be mayor forever and Harry Kim is a good man..let’s bring him back once again.