HILO >> A ban on plastic bags is set to begin Jan. 17 at all Big Island grocery stores, restaurants and other retailers.
Consumers in the past year have been paying fees for plastic bags at checkout lines.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald says the fee was part of a plastic-bag reduction ordinance adopted in 2011 that gave businesses one year to eliminate plastic-bag inventories.
When the ban is in place, customers will be able to use reusable bags or paper bags.
Plastic bags will still be allowed for bulk items such as nuts, fish, meat, grains, fresh produce, garments and prescription medications.
When the ban becomes effective, Honolulu will be the only county in Hawaii without such a ban. A bag ban for Oahu is not going into effect until 2015.