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Mayor signs bill banning retail plastic bags

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:16 p.m. HST, May 10, 2012

Mayor Peter Carlisle today signed a bill banning the distribution of plastic bags by retailers beginning July 1, 2015.

The City Council approved the bill on a 7-1 vote on April 25.

Consumers and environmentalists testified in support of the ban while a number of retailers said they preferred a ban that would also take into consideration paper bags.

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 bans in place while Hawaii County passed a measure that will take effect next year.

Under the bill, plastic bags distributed to package loose fruit, vegetables and nuts, or to contain or wrap specialty items such as frozen foods, beverages, flowers, laundry or live fish would still be allowed.

Plastic bag is defined as "a bag that is made from nonbiodegradable plastic, and is not specifically designed or manufactured for multiple re-use."

A business caught violating the measure would be fined between $100 and $1,000 for each day of violation.

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