Honolulu the largest city in Hawaii, has decided to ban plastic food containers, straws and most plastic utensils on the island of Oahu, where almost 70% of the Hawaiian residents live. This is the newest and the strictest law to ban on single-use plastics that the country has ever seen.
This legislation will proceed in phases, with polystyrene foam banned first in 2021, then disposable plastics will be banned in 2022. To pass Bill 40, which prohibits restaurants and businesses in Honolulu county from serving beverages and food with plastics or foam. The Honolulu City Council had to vote, and thankfully, the votes were in favor of banning plastics with the council voting 7-2. The bill, which is expected to be signed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, would be the most restrictive anti-plastic bill in the state.
Once, Honolulu lawmakers and Maui County and the islands of Molokai and Maui banned foam containers, but it didn’t include plastic utensils. In 2015, Honolulu county banned plastic bags in grocery stores, at that time, Hawaii became the only state to completely ban plastic bags.
Hawaii’s efforts to reduce the use of disposable plastic are part of a growing wave across the country. This year, legislatures and city councils more than 30 states out of 52 have passed or considered measures that ban or discourage single-use plastic bags, polystyrene foam, and single-use plastic utensils. But California has been one step ahead of the anti-plastic game. California passed a statewide ban on plastic bags at large retail stores in 2014, then in the November 2016 ballot, a referendum forced the issue where it moved to remain in effect. Also, New York passed a similar measure in April 2019.