Plastic Bags to be Prohibited in Maui County

Buyers beware – the familiar white plastic bag that carries groceries home may have its days numbered. There is currently a bill before the Maui County Council Policy Committee proposing to reduce the use of plastic bags within the county.

“The council finds and declares that in order to preserve the health, safety, welfare and scenic natural beauty of the county of Maui the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags must be regulated,” states the bill, in chapter 20.18 of the Maui County Code.

Molokai businesses have expressed concern to councilmember Danny Mateo, who also serves as chair to the county policy committee. Anyone with questions or comments is encouraged to call him.

According to Mateo’s office, the bill is before the council right now, but has not yet been brought up for discussion.

Businesses grossing a surplus of $250,000 annually would be “prohibited from providing non-biodegradable checkout plastic bags to their customers at the point of sale.”

Compostable, recyclable paper or reusable bags would have to be used as an alternative. According to the bill, recyclable bags would be provided by the business owner to the customer and would be 100 percent recyclable and constructed from at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content.

The bill does allow business owners to charge customers for provision of the compostable, recyclable or reusable bags.

The bill is scheduled to take effect six months after approval. If finalized, all distribution of non-biodegradable plastic bags would be prohibited within the next five years.


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