March 3, 2012 -- The Hawaii Senate's Ways and Means Committee passed Bill SB2511 by a margin of eleven to one on February 29th. SB2511 is known as the Single-Use Checkout Bag Fee. The Bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
If passed, the Bill will place a fee of ten cents on all single-use checkout bags - paper or plastic. There are certain bags that are excluded making the fee mainly applicable to checkout bags.
The Bill defines a single-use checkout bag as: a bag made of plastic that is less than 2.25 mils thick, or a paper package or sack, whether recyclable or non-recyclable, that is provided by a business to a customer, and is designed for one-time use, to contain and transport merchandise.
All retailers will be required to collect and remit the fee to the state. Each business must also report, on a yearly basis, the number of single-use checkout bags and the number of reusable bags provided to customers for that calendar year.
If the Bill is passed, the legislation will not affect the three counties of Hawaii that have passed plastic bag bans. (See related story about Senate committees hearing on the SB2511.) Passage of the bill will also make Hawaii the first state in the U.S. to pass a statewide plastic bag initiative.
Cover photo: Flag of Hawaii. Credit: Wikipedia