Maui News

Ban on Polystyrene Food Containers Considered for Maui County

July 24, 2014, 12:44 PM HST
* Updated July 24, 12:47 PM
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Plate lunch, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Plate lunch, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

A bill seeking a ban on the use and sale of polystyrene disposable food service containers in Maui County comes up for review before a council committee on Monday.

The bill, introduced by Council Member Michael Victorino, would prohibit food establishments and vendors from using or selling the containers.

Council Member Elle Chochran, who chairs the council’s Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee, said it is the duty of the council to implement policies that will protect and preserve natural resources.

Cochran, who announced the upcoming meeting, said, “When ingested, polystyrene may become lethal to our marine animals and birds. It is not biodegradable and can exist in our landfills for hundreds of years. These widely recognized environmental impacts show good cause for consideration of a countywide ban.”

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The ban would include Styrofoam, which is widely used for plate lunches and takeout containers.  The bill would exclude prepared foods packaged outside the county and polystyrene foam coolers and ice chests specifically designed for multiple re-use.

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According to the announcement, food providers will be able to apply for a one-year exemption if they can show that no reasonable alternative to polystyrene containers is available, or if compliance with the ban would cause significant economic hardship.

“Considering our community’s collective success and ability to adjust to the plastic bag ban implemented in 2011, it seems to be a reasonable next step that we address the issues surrounding polystyrene containers,” Cochran said in a committee press release. “The bill would promote environmental awareness and support responsible waste management.”

The Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee will consider the bill on Monday, July 28, at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber in Wailuku, Committee Chair Elle Cochran announced today.

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