Plastic bag ban on Oahu still pending

Ann Kobayashi
Ann Kobayashi
Bob Raben
Bob Raben

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) -- Plastic bag bans are the rave in many Mainland cities and the movement has spread to the islands.

Maui has a ban that takes effect in 2011. Now the Big Island is on its way toward a ban on plastic bags as well, but what about Oahu?

A bill to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags on Oahu is on the table, but it's been there for nearly a year, with no movement. Some city council members say following both Maui and the Big Island and their bans is the way to go.

Bob Raben, part-time shopper, full-time boat owner.

"Every time you go around in the marina here, or especially in the Ala Wai, there's plastic bags floating all over the place. you can see 'em in the ocean and from a boaters standpoint, a plastic bag falls on a propeller and it's just miserable," he said.

He's all for a ban on plastic bags, but some aren't. They say paper bags will be more expensive to ship because they take up more space and weigh more. some stores hope Oahu doesn't follow the recent bans on the neighbor islands

"We're somewhat disappointed in the decision, but we're more than willing to continue our education campaigns and work with city and county governments on solutions that are going to help the environment," Hawaii Food Industry Association government affairs specialist Lauren Zirbel said.

Some say the ban on plastic bags could end up costing consumers more, others say it'll help save the environment.

"It is a controversial issue," Honolulu city councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said. "There are many who say well, how do I get rid of waste in their homes and their dog droppings, etcetera, but we have to look at the big picture, what did we do before we had plastic bags."

Kobayashi's current bill would only affect businesses with annual gross sales of more than a million dollars.

"People aren't being responsible about it," Raben said. "It's the people that are causing the problem."

A problem with many answers, still left unresolved.

A proposal for a statewide plastic bag ban failed in the most recent legislative session.