Hawaii County Council Committee on Environmental Management meets on Tuesday, February 2nd. The Agenda list Bill 193, an ordinance prohibiting businesses from providing plastic checkout bags to their customers. Bill 193 is actually a reworked version of a bill that was passed in 2008 by the County Council but was vetoed by the mayor at that time.
Citing five reasons why plastic bags are a nuisance to the environment and to the Island of Hawaii, the ordinance states that it's purpose is "to reduce the use of plastic bags and encourage the use of environmentally preferable alternatives, such as reusable bags."
In fact, according to the Hawaii County General Plan, the County is required to "take positive action to maintain the quality of the environment; reinforce and strengthen established standards where necessary by adopting ordinances to control pollutants that affect the environment; and encourage the concept of recycling."
If passed by the County Council, the ordinance would become effective on January 1, 2011. The Bill would also allow businesses to offer plastic bags for sale for up to one calendar year after the effective date of the ordinance.
The plastic bag ban ordinance would be administered by the Director of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) but police officers would write citations to any violators.