HONOLULU » The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is praising Maui and Kauai counties for banning plastic shopping bags.
The agency said in a statement Thursday the counties are decreasing the waste they produce as well as reducing the amount of plastic that may end up in the ocean.
It says the bans will help protect marine life, which often mistake plastic debris that’s in the ocean for food and try to eat it.
The bans took effect on Jan. 11. Penalties start at $250 for initial violations in Kauai, and $500 in Maui.
Residents in those counties have been adapting by using more reusable shopping bags, paper bags with handles or no bags at all.