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Hawaii County Council considers outlawing plastic checkout bags

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:59 a.m. HST, Jun 7, 2011

The Hawaii County Council is considering an ordinance that would outlaw plastic checkout bags, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports.

Bill 17, sponsored by Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann, states plastic bags are detrimental because they do not degrade into a safe compound, introduce unsafe chemicals into the environment, contribute to unsightly litter, create the potential death of marine and pasture animals through entanglement and ingestion, and create an impediment to the county's landfill diversion goals.

If passed, shoppers would be "encouraged" to use "environmentally preferable alternatives, such as reusable bags," or go without. Though plastic checkout bags would be prohibited, business would be allowed to make such bags available for purchase for one year after the ordinance's effective date.

The public will have an opportunity to provide input on the ban during hearings, the first of which was held Monday night.

Plastic bags are already banned on Maui and Kauai. 

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