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Hawaii News

Big Island prepares for polystyrene ban

Hawaii island

KAILUA-KONA >> In preparation for a ban on polystyrene food containers that takes effect July 1, the Hawaii County Council was briefed last week by county Recycling Coordinator George Hayducsko, who outlined a schedule for devising administrative rules.

The county will use a small-business advisory committee to help draft the rules and a small-business regulatory review board to review them, West Hawaii Today reported. Public hearings are anticipated in April.

Restaurateurs, food vendors and those dispensing food in single-use containers are being encouraged to adopt certified compostable ware such as bio-plastics and fiber-based products. The county rule will require the use of compostables certified by the Biodegradable Product Institute. The products are compostable in an industrial composting facility, such as one Hawaii County plans to open by July 1, 2020.

The new law does not cover straws, lids or cutlery, but the county would like businesses to switch to environmentally preferred alternatives, which also are readily available.

Fines range from $10 to $600 per violation, depending on whether the violation is part of a special event and the size of the special event. A written warning will be issued first. Each sale or transfer of food in a polystyrene container counts as a single violation.

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