Oahu has now joined the rest of the Hawaiian Islands in prohibiting the distribution of plastic bags at stores. This makes Hawaii the first state to fully ban plastic bags at grocery stores. This ban has been instituted at the county level, by all four County Councils.
Retailers can provide recyclable paper bags and reusable bags to customers. Many retailers on Big Island and across the Hawaiian Islands charge anywhere from 5 to 10 cents for a recyclable paper bag, while some stores opt to provide the bags for free. Some stores even offer incentives to customers, by receiving 5-10 cents off your grocery purchase for bringing in re-usable shopping bags. Small plastic bags for bagging produce, meats, take out items and bakery items are still allowed at grocery stores.
Plastic bags are not biodegradable and there are serious issues of plastic pollution damaging marine life. The state of Hawai'i has set the bar for other states to join in on this ban. California recently passed a law in which stores are required to charge for plastic bags, but the law has currently been put on hold.
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