The ban on plastic bags is not a new thing for Maui residents. Maui County was the first in Hawaii to ban plastic bags, passing the ordinance back in August 2008 and making it effective in January 2011, originally presented by Council Member Michael Molina and unanimously signed.
Every year, approximately 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used. 380 billion of those are used in the U.S. alone, with the average American using between 300 to 700 plastic bags per year. Plastic bags not only add to the already staggering amount of litter in the world, but create additional problems in landfills, kill marine animals through ingestion and entanglement, and use millions of barrels of crude oil in order to manufacture.
San Francisco was the first city in the U.S. to pass a bill on the ban of plastic bags in 2007, and since then, other cities around the country have begun to follow suit. The world’s “great garbage patch,” as it’s so accurately called, is a floating pile of garbage between Hawaii and San Francisco that is twice the size of Texas and contains thousands of pounds of trash, comprised mostly of various forms of plastic. And while there’s no immediate plan to clean up this massive mess, the hope is that we will no longer contribute to it.
So what are the rules in Maui?
- Any single use plastic bag under 3 mils (75 microns) thick that is provided to customers at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting groceries or other goods is prohibited
- Businesses are not required to provide paper bags at the point of sale
- Businesses can choose to charge for paper bags if they wish
- Restaurants are prohibited from giving out plastic bags for take-out food
- Both compostable and noncompostable plastic bags are banned
- Any business that continues to use plastic bags will be fined
Whether you’re a resident or visitor to Maui, remember the rules and Bring Your Own Bag! Reusable bags can be found at a huge number of retail stores on the island and paper bags are offered at most grocery stores. Mahalo!