By Alfred Acenas
HONOLULU (Eagle News) — Plastic cutlery and disposable food containers will be banned beginning Thursday in Hawaii.
The ban on disposable food ware was supposed to take effect at the beginning of the year.
But because of the pandemic, the state delayed its implementation for four months.
That allowed businesses time to use up their inventories of the stuff. It also gave local government’s more time to educate people.
Thursday’s ban is the first phase of this environmental measure.
Under the ordinance, known as Bill 40, polystyrene foam food ware cannot be sold, provided, or offered for sale or use at city facilities, city-authorized concessions, city-sponsored or permitted events, or city programs.
As well, disposable plastic service ware cannot be sold, served, or provided to customers by any food vendor in Oahu.
Disposable service ware may be provided or distributed by a food vendor only upon request or in a self-service area or dispenser.
As well, food vendors must provide fossil fuel-free utensils made of bioplastic, paper, or other renewable materials instead of petroleum plastic utensils. And they must reduce the use of plastic takeout bags.
Phase 2 takes effect January 1, 2022.
Then, food vendors and businesses won’t be allowed to sell, serve, or provide prepared food in polystyrene foam food ware or disposable plastic food ware.
There are exemptions for the packaging of raw food, prepackaged food and shelf stable food.
Vendors can also apply for exemptions.
Once considered as one of the toughest single-use plastic ban in the United States, Bill 40 was signed into law on December 15, 2019 by then Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
The law was intended to ban nearly all takeout plastic over the next two years throughout Oahu to reduce the amount of microplastics in the ecosystem.
(Eagle News Service)