Kauai Is Last Hawaii County To Ban Plastic Foam Containers

Sep 11, 2020

LIHUE, Hawaii — Kauai became the final county in Hawaii to pass a bill prohibiting the sale and use of plastic foam food containers.

The ban passed by the Kauai County Council Wednesday is scheduled to take effect in 2022, The Garden Island reported.

Supporters of the measure spoke about the environmental benefits of discontinuing use of the containers.

Council member Mason Chock said the bill was a small step Kauai can make toward helping the environment.

Nanea Marston, part-owner of the Tahiti Nui restaurant, said that for more than a decade the business has only used products that can be composted.

“We believe it is not only an option but an obligation to our community, our land and our oceans,” Marston said in written testimony. “We are an island, there is zero reason we should not already be doing this.”

Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro and Vice Chair Ross Kagawa opposed the measure, citing the potential hardships a ban could cause small businesses.

Kaneshiro said the plastic foam in the food containers used by many restaurants makes up about 0.04% of waste in the county landfill, limiting concerns about overloading the area.

“It’s not the right time to add this stress to (restaurant owners)," Kaneshiro said.

The bill first proposed in February was subject to at least four proposed amendments before passage.

A second draft delayed the start date to 2022 from January 2021 and included a provision specifying food service containers meet specific biodegradable standards.

Kagawa proposed an amendment in August removing a provision requiring only biodegradable products that can be composted in lieu of plastic foam containers.