Need a bag for your groceries? Expect to pay up starting July 1

Need a bag for your groceries? Expect to pay up starting July 1

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Paper or plastic? Come July 1, you might want to go with neither.

Next month, Oahu's sweeping new bag ban goes into effect. And if you forget to bring your reusable bags, expect to pay up.

Supermarkets and other stores will be required to charge you at least 15 cents per bag — paper or plastic — when you check out.

It's a concept Lin's Hawaiian Snacks on Kamakee Street adopted two years ago, when the city kicked off the first version of its plastic bag ban.

Danielle Cabalis, who works at the store, said bags cost 25 to 50 cents.

"We already had a few reusable bags that we were selling so we just totally switched over to our paper reusable bags and our tote bags," Cabalis said.

Meanwhile, a number of customers said they don't mind the charge.

"I think it has to be done to encourage people to bring their own bags to cut down waste going to the landfill and blowing around in the street," said shopper Carl Peterson.

Others, though, say 15 cents per bag is high.

"We're from the Virginia DC area. So it's about 5 cents in DC," said shopper Niki Moore.

"I think it will be frustrating to people who are not used to it," added Stephanie Anderson.

Honolulu City Councilman Brandon Elefante says he introduced the law in an effort to protect the environment and says merchants will keep all of the money that's collected.

"The city doesn't get one cent of any of this charge," he said.

In 2020, the final phase of the law goes into effect: Stores will be banned from using plastic bags altogether.

The tougher law closed a loophole in the existing plastic bag ban that allowed retailers to hand out thicker plastic bags.

The city Department of Environmental Services says it has sent notices to more than 10,000 businesses to remind them of the new requirements.

Worth noting: You won't get charged for plastic bags used to transport fish and meats, produce and takeout.

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