When the Governor of Honolulu County signed into law the plastic bag ban last week that the County Council approved, Hawaii became the first state in the nation where every city and unincorporated area is covered by a plastic bag ban. This was not done by the state legislature, but instead by all four County Councils—a great example of local activists and decision makers addressing the serious issue of plastic pollution.
The City and County of Honolulu is the last of Hawaii’s counties to enact a ban on plastic bags at the point of sale. Maui and Kauai counties already have plastic bag bans in place while Hawaii County passed an ordinance that will take effect next year. While we are excited that the plastic bag bans have been enacted, there has been a reported increase in paper bag use from locals. Paper bags biodegrade and don’t have the same impact on wildlife, but there are issues with any disposable product, so local Surfrider Chapters will continue to push for more reusable bag education and a potential fee on paper bags.
For now, let’s celebrate this important moment and spread the word to bring your reusable bags when traveling to Hawaii. Congratulations to all of the Surfrider activists and other organizations involved.