Political News

Hawaii County officials propose scaled-back Styrofoam ban

Posted 3:15 p.m. Monday

— Though a proposed ban was already tabled in June, Hawaii County Council members are again pushing for a ban on expanded polystyrene products, more commonly known as Styrofoam.

Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille plans to propose a modified version of the earlier legislation that would only prohibit the county from using foam products, West Hawaii Today reported (http://bit.ly/2diQ0l0 ).

"The big difference is that the prohibitions in Bill 140 were sort of across the board, but this bill only prohibits the county, county vendors and county facility users (from using foam containers)," Wille said. "If we think this is important, then we should act as an example."

The original proposal, Bill 140, stalled after a 4-4 vote and would have banned foam containers across Hawaii Island. All restaurants would have instead been required to use reusable or compostable products, with a few exceptions.

Hawaii Island will have a composting facility by July 2018.

Many arguments against Bill 140 had focused on the negative impact it would have on county businesses, but Wille argues the updated version assuages those issues by only impacting county facilities.

Other opponents of the bill have argued that the negative environmental consequences of foam containers do not come from businesses, but instead are to be blamed on consumers who don't dispose of them properly.

"People who litter are gonna litter," Hilo Councilman Dennis "Fresh" Onishi said back in June

This could be one of Wille's last legislative efforts. She was narrowly ousted from her District 9 seat in August's primary. Wille said she hopes to at least get some traction with the updated legislation before she and three other council members vacate their seats in December.


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