The Hawaii Styrofoam Ban
In 2017 the sentate introduced SB1109 SD1 RELATING TO POLYSTYRENE FOAM CONTAINERS, more informally known as the Styrofoam Ban. SB1109 states:
[This bill] prohibits the use of polystyrene foam containers by food vendors beginning 1/1/18, unless: (1) the county in which the food vendor works has established a polystyrene foam container recycling program; or (2) DOH allows an exemption. Takes effect 7/1/2020. (SD1)
IN THIS CORNER: “Keyboard Warrior” – Born and raised in Hawaii, always looking for a fight… online, of course.
If you need to gather any opinion on this “Styrofoam Ban”, all you need to do is read the actual bill. I'll save you a click and show you the highlight reel:
- By design, styrofoam easily escapes waste collection systems and accumulate on land and in water
- The accumulation of expanded polystyrene foam on land and in water poisons the local food supply and marine wildlife
- The cost of litter prevention in San Diego, California, which is similar in population to Hawaii, is over $14,000,000 per year
- Expanded polystyrene foam poisons and mars Hawaii's iconic landscapes, which serves as the basis for its number one industry, tourism
What are the possible pros??? Makes life slightly easier. So did plastic bags, but here I find myself using those silly reusable ones without second thought – and I get to rest easier knowing that I didn't cause extra pollution.
Is this bill strong? No, it's rather limited but it's a step in the right direction. From there, we need to keep fighting to advocate for the health of our land. Is this bill overreaching? Perhaps, but this really seems like a for the greater good type scenario, that I personally can sacrifice for and get behind.
FINAL ARGUMENT: Unfortunately, some people have to take one for the team. Food trucks and restaurants will need to use more costly items, or maybe we institute a bring your own reusable container. Is this inconvenient, difficult, and expensive? Sure, but so trying to survive in a wasteland. Also think about the whales :'(
IN THIS CORNER: “Being Local” – Born and raised in Hawaii, a small business owner and conservative.
On July 1, 2019, the Styrofoam ban goes into effect on the Big Island. While I get the concern for the environment and I applaud the legislation, I just don’t get it.
On its face, we see a ban on Styrofoam, and for those of us who see the effect Styrofoam has on our ecosystem, we agree with the ban. Furthermore, government officials believe that they are pleasing the public and doing the job that they were elected to do.
But after taking a closer look at it, I’m a little confused.
For the most part, the only containers that are banned are plate lunch containers from food establishments. Styrofoam egg cartons are not banned, Styrofoam coolers are also ok and Styrofoam containers used by approved food vendors at county facilities are ok as well.
I get that people will say it’s a great start. But do we ever go back and say, “ok let’s work on the rest of it now.” And more important, if it’s killing our wildlife then let’s ban it…completely! As a small business owner, I guess I’m seeing it as more legislation to slow down small business while not affecting big business. But hey that’s just me.
FINAL ARGUMENT: This ban does nothing but punish small businesses without any actual large scale progress being made. It's just appeasement legislation by local politicians who want to appear like they're tackling the issue but are too afraid to combat the big fish who are responsible for the bulk of the problem.