Maui signs law banning foam containers like those used for plate lunches

Maui signs law banning foam containers like those used for plate lunches

MAUI COUNTY (HawaiiNewsNow) - Plate lunches on Maui are about to change.

On Tuesday, Maui County officially became the first county in the state to ban polystyrene foam containers.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa signed Bill 127 into law Tuesday, which bans the sale and use of polystyrene food containers. The ban goes in to effect on Dec. 31, 2018.

"It gives me great pleasure to sign into law this ban on foam polystyrene food service containers, as it furthers the environmental protections for our community," Arakawa said in a letter to the Maui County Council.

The county council unanimously passed the bill on May 18, after hearing testimony both in support and in opposition to the ban.

Those in favor of the ban said the it would reduce plastic pollution, but opponents said switching to alternative biodegradable containers would raise costs for small businesses and consumers.

Under the new law, businesses that don't comply with the ban could face a $1,000 fine per day.

Arakawa believes that fine is, "excessive, especially for some of our 'mom and pop' stores."

He also urged council members to clarify the language of the law. Specifically, Arakawa said, the law doesn't include an exclusion for imported products, including instant ramen products, though it does exempt foam ice chests and food containers used for raw meats, fish and eggs.

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