Hawaii moves toward statewide disposable bag fee

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A proposal to collect fees from customers who choose disposable paper and plastic shopping bags at stores and restaurants has cleared another committee.

If lawmakers pass the House Bill 2260 this session, Hawaii would become the first state to enact this kind of environmentally-friendly legislation.

The measure has been touted as a way to discourage shoppers from using single-use shopping bags by charging an extra 5 cents per bag. The average person uses 400 plastic bags each year, advocates say.

Supporters note the bags require fossil fuel for manufacture, harm marine life when they end up in the ocean, burden overcrowded landfills and wind up as unsightly litter.

Sixty to 70 percent of the collected fees would go into the natural area reserve fund for watershed protection, restoration and reacquisition.

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