Coast Guard exchange going green

Published: Feb. 25, 2009 at 12:13 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2009 at 11:10 PM HST
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Ron Collins
Ron Collins
Captain John Hickey
Captain John Hickey

By Tracy Gladden - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The Coast Guard Base exchange is conserving energy and eliminating waste this March. Paper or plastic? It's a question no longer being asked at Sand Island's Coast Guard Base exchange.

"You don't have any plastic bags," exchange customer Ron Collins said.

Out with the old and wasteful, and in with paper and cloth bags.

"We all know that it has an effect on our ecosystem and I throw them away all the time in the garbage and I don't know where they end up after that," Collins said.

Many end up floating in Honolulu Harbor. "If we could get rid of the plastic bags I think that would be a very good option," Collins said.

The Ocean Conservancy says plastic bags are the fifth most common item of debris found on beaches.

"Hawaii's such a beautiful place we can't afford to have plastic bags flying around and landing in the water and harming marine wildlife," Captain John Hickey said.

Hickey says this exchange and the exchange at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe will also

replace incandescent light bulbs with high efficiency ones.

"We feel it's real important for people to switch to the CFL's because we're going to save so much energy that way," Hickey said.

"There's probably about a 20 percent difference in my electric bill," Collins said.

"It's a small step but all these small steps are adding up to a great deal of savings for us," Hickey said.

Savings he says get passed on to the taxpayer. The Coast Guard Exchange and Marine Corps Base Hawaii Exchange are among the first military bases in Hawaii to ban plastic bags.