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article imageHawaii the first US state to ban plastic bags

By Anne Sewell     May 15, 2012 in Environment
Honolulu - The option to choose paper or plastic is officially coming to an end in sunny Hawaii, the first U.S. state to ban plastic bags.
A bill was approved in December 2011 to ban the use of plastic bags on the Big Island. Now the whole state is following through with this ecological ban.
People will need to take reusable bags when shopping for their groceries in every city and unincorporated area in the Hawaiian islands.
Paper bags will still be in use as long as they are biodegradable, as they don't have the same negative impact as plastic on wildlife and the eco-system.
Plastic bags will be allowed in some instances, such as to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish and other items where there is a need to contain dampness.
They will also be allowed to protect prepared foods and bakery goods, as laundry and dry cleaning bags provided by hotels and to contain live animals sold at pet stores, such as fish or insects.
Bags will also be allowed to transport caustic chemicals sold by retail stores, as long as this exemption is limited to one bag per customer.
Four Country Councils enacted the ban to address the very serious issue of plastic pollution and the last to sign on for the plastic bag ban was Honolulu County on May 10, 2012.
Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle says: "This is really getting people to change their behaviors and that's one of the most difficult things to do frequently and we hope people are going to understand that."
The new law bans all non-biodegradable plastic bags and non-recyclable paper with effect from July 1, 2015.
Maui and Kauai stores have already implemented the ban.
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