By Nina Wu
If you're looking for a fashionable way to bring your own bag, check out Envirosax's water-inspired collection for the Surfrider Foundation. They can be found under the graphic series and cost $10.95 each.
These three designs feature artwork from the Foundation's artist friends Ned Evans, Robb Havassy and Melinda Morey (who grew up on Kauai).
With the collection, Envirosax and the Surfrider Foundation hope to raise awareness of the issue of single-use plastics in our marine environments.
Envirosax is donating 50 cents from every bag sold to the Surfrider Foundation's Rise Above Plastics campaign.
"Our oceans, lakes and waterways are beautiful elements of nature we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy," said Envirosax CEO Belinda Coker. "We hope to inspire everyone to reuse. One tiny change is like a drop of water into a pond – it has the power of creating a big ripple effect..."
Two bills pending in the Hawaii State Legislature — House Bill 2260 and Senate Bill 2511 — propose requiring businesses to charge a 10-cent fee for every single-use checkout bag (paper and plastic) provided to a customer.
A percentage of the fees are supposed to go to a "natural area reserve fund" towards the state Department of Land and Natural Resources' watershed initiative. The bill does not include produce bags (which you use to put apples and vegetables in), newspaper bags or dry cleaning bags.
Maui and Kauai counties already passed a ban on plastic checkout bags, in effect for about a year, with Hawaii county planning to follow suit next year. Honolulu county is the only county without a plastic bag policy in place.
The Oahu chapter of Surfrider Foundation supports the bill, along with the Sierra Club and supermarkets such as Safeway and Times.
Last year, Washington D.C. passed a law charging 5-cents for every plastic and paper disposable bag customers use when buying food or alcohol. In December, the Seattle City Council took a different tact, voting unanimously to ban plastic bags and set a 5-cent fee for paper bags. Seattle initially proposed a 20-cent fee on paper and plastic bags three years ago, but voters rejected the initiative.
Whatever happens in Honolulu, if you want to make it a personal habit to bring your own bag, you can do so any time. Supermarkets like Foodland, Down To Earth and Whole Foods currently offer 5-cents credit for customers who bring in their own bags at checkout.
My favorite reusable bags are lightweight, easy to carry in a pocket or handbag (if you roll them up like an umbrella) as well as stylish. You can use them to carry groceries home or as beach bags and lunch totes.
Visit www.envirosax.com to find more designs.