By Nina Wu
Thursday, Jan. 17 marks the first day that the "plastic bag reduction ordinance" goes into effect on Hawaii island.
Single-use plastic bags will be allowed for the first year of this new law if a fee is charged for each bag, according to a statement issued by the County of Hawaii Department of Environmental Management. Businesses will set the fee and keep the revenue. Paper bags are permitted.
But many stores have already opted to stop using plastic checkout bags, encouraging customers instead to bring their own reusable bags.
The new law does not include plastic bags without handles used for meat, produce, bulk items, garments and prescription drugs. Non-profit groups are also exempt.
Businesses caught violating the ordinance will be issued a warning letter first, followed by a civil fine of $250 per day for a second violation and $500 per day for the third violation.
Visit HawaiiZeroWaste.com for a copy of the ordinance, rules and more information. Contact the department's Solid Waste and Recycling offices at 808-961-8270 if you have questions.