New rules banning plastic food ware at Oahu eateries go into effect

Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 10:26 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Starting Thursday, Oahu restaurants have tighter restrictions for how they can serve carry-out food.

Plastic straws, plastic bags with handles and plastic utensils are no longer allowed.

The changes come as part of Ordinance 19-30 better known my most in the restaurant industry as Bill 40. It’s an amendment to the plastic bag ban from 2018 to now include restrictions on the use and sale of polystyrene foam food ware, disposable plastic food ware, and disposable plastic service ware.

This first phase was set to go into effect on Jan. 1, but an extension was granted so businesses could use their remaining stock of those products.

The ordinance also bans polystyrene containers from city facilities, city-authorized concessions, events or programs. On Jan. 1, 2022, it gets more teeth, banning those products from all food vendors. There are only some exemptions, like for businesses packaging raw meat, poultry, seafood or raw eggs.

The idea is to get business to move to fossil fuel-free utensils made of bioplastic, paper, or other renewable materials.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association in cooperation with Retail Merchants of Hawaii are applying for an industry exemption that would last for two years.

The organizations claim many business are still trying to recover after the added costs and lower revenues brought on by the pandemic. Currently there is also an international shortage of compostable utensils and containers making the switch even more costly.

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