POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 7, 2010
Question: What ever happened to the various efforts to ban plastic grocery bags in Hawaii?
Answer: In 2008, Maui County approved a ban on all plastic checkout bags that is scheduled to take effect in January. Kauai County last year passed a ban only for nonbiodegradable carryout bags starting in January.
The Big Island County Council in February narrowly shot down a plastic carryout bag ban bill by a vote of 5-4. A ban approved by the Council in 2008 was vetoed under then-Mayor Harry Kim.
Legislators failed to approve a statewide ban on plastic bags last session.
A plastic carryout bag ban introduced in the Honolulu City Council in 2007 also did not pass.
But City Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz this week introduced eight pieces of legislation aimed at helping the environment, including a ban on nonbiodegradable plastic bags.
The legislation is scheduled for a first reading before the Council on Wednesday.
The measures would:
» Ban nonbiodegradable plastic bags;
» Require at least 60 percent of demolition and construction material be recycled and/or reused;
» Provide a property tax exemption for commercial recycling facilities;
» Provide a property tax credit for landowners to install and maintain green roofs;
» Create benefits to encourage green roof construction;
» Urge the city's administration to establish a Zero Waste Task Force;
» Urge the Department of Permitting and Planning to create a position for a permit reviewer familiar with sustainable design standards.
"The city has made some advances in environmental leadership, but we can do better," Dela Cruz said in a statement. "Recycling is just one component in the environmental equation. Encouraging energy-efficient buildings, green-roofing, more recycling facilities, etc., these are real proposals that move us toward being sustainable and energy efficient."
Copies of the legislation can be found on the City Council website at www.honolulu.gov/council/index1.htm.
This update was written by Dan Nakaso. Suggest a "Whatever Happened To ..." topic by writing to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or e-mail cityeditors@staradvertiser. com.