Bill to clarify Oahu’s plastic bag ban passes third reading, heads to mayor’s desk

The Honolulu City Council has passed a bill that would modify Oahu’s impending plastic bag ban.

Under current Ordinance 12-8, Oahu businesses will no longer be allowed to offer non-biodegradable plastic bags to customers starting in July 2015.

Bill 38 clarifies the wording of the ordinance to ban plastic checkout bags and non-recyclable paper bags, versus the original wording of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

“We discovered through different conversations that there is no standard as to what is biodegradable or what is not, and in order for the city to enforce the law, there has to be a standard,” Honolulu City Council member Breene Harimoto previously said.

The ban already provides exceptions for bags that are used to package loose items like fruits and vegetables, prepared foods and bakery goods, laundry, dry cleaning and even newspapers.

Bill 38 also allows the distribution of “compostable plastic bags,” which applies to bags that meet current ASTM D6400 Standard Specifications for compostability and that is labeled with the Biodegradable Product Institute (“BPI”) logo.

The bill now heads to the mayor’s desk for approval.

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