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Bill requiring a 10-cent fee on plastic shopping bags gains support

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:21 a.m. HST, Jan 27, 2012

Businesses and environmental groups expressed support Thursday for a state House bill that would require businesses to charge customers 10 cents for each single-use plastic checkout bag.

The goal would be to encourage people to use reuseable shopping bags, and reduce waste and litter. Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties each have implemented county bans on single-use plastic bags.

Rep. Denny Coffman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, said after a hearing that he will kill the bill heard Thursday but will hold a hearing next week on a very similar bill that may address concerns raised Thursday.

Questions included the cost of enforcement, a proposed dedication of $11 million for watershed projects and whether the state law would supercede existing county plastic bag bans.

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