Oahu Chapter

Bill 40 FAQ

Bill 40 passed in December 2019 and stood as the most comprehensive plastic ban in the nation at the time of passing. It affects the City and County of Honolulu, which encompasses the island Oʻahu. This bill serves as a jumping off point for other islands in Hawaiʻi, and hopefully the Nation!

What does bill 40 encompass?

As of January 2021 bill 40 will ban single-use serviceware, like plastic straws, stirrers, utensils, and others including baran (plastic sushi grass). Disposable serviceware, plastic or otherwise, will be by request only, and the city will no longer use polystyrene foam containers (aka Styrofoam) for their events/operations. 

As soon as January 2022, the expanded ban on plastic ware will go into effect. This section bans most other single-use plastic containers, like cups, lids, and takeout containers, and includes all foam. It applies widely to prepared take-out food with some exemptions that can be explored below!

The City has released this helpful and informational pamphlet, available to view and/or download!

I manage a restaurant, what changes will I have to make?

Don’t Panic! Avoiding plastic is easier than you think! Under the bill, you will have to make the switch to compostable items; bio-plastic items are available, but bamboo or other wooden items are preferable! Here is a list of awesome companies around the island supplying items that we support to help make the switch as seamless as possible:

For all of your container needs: https://www.sustainableislandproducts.com/
Bamboo utensils and durable paper straws made here on the island: https://blutensils.com/

If you want resources for making the switch, and see examples of success- click here!

How will this help Oʻahu?

Tons of pounds of single-use plastics are disposed of in Oʻahu every day, and with no way to be recycled, many find their way into the ocean.  These materials bind to chemicals, and won’t break down for hundreds of years. Go to any one of our beautiful beaches, and the evidence of this pollution is immediately evident.  This new law will ensure that restaurants and businesses are following best practices to reduce our plastic waste! 

What was the process in passing this bill?

A tremendous effort was put forth by not only the Oʻahu chapter of Surfrider to support and testify in support, to bring the bill through each hearing.  It was introduced by councilman Joey Manahan, and supported also by councilman Tommy Waters. Eventually, after months of hearings in the house and senate, Hawaiʻi mayor Kirk Caldwell passed the bill into law, hooray!

When will the law take effect?

There are three phases of this bil, the first going into effect in July of 2020.  The next two phases will be in January of 2021, and 2022. See above for a more detailed timeline. 

What else can I do to reduce my personal waste?

Reducing personal waste is a huge part of slowing ocean pollution, as well as leading the movement by example, and we support it! Bringing reusable cups and containers saves a huge amount of waste with a minimal amount of effort.  If you’re interested in fun alternatives to wasteful kitchen items, see the websites below!

For cleaning supplies that have refillable containers: https://ponohome.com/essentials/
Reusable beeswax container/wraps: https://www.meliwraps.com/
Foodware-utensils and bags (plus awesome Surfrider merch!): https://shop.surfrider.org/
For a one-stop shop of almost all of your zero waste needs, located in windward Oʻahu, https://www.proteazerowaste.com/

Other items you can consider switching to, sold widely: reusable produce bags, bamboo toothbrushes, tablet toothpaste.  Have a tip not on this list? Email us and share your ideas at policy@oahu.surfrider.org!

What about my MUSUBIS!?

We got you covered! Pre-packaged food items are exempt from this ban, so keep the musubis coming!

I have more questions, where can I find the entire bill?

You can find the entire ordinance here, and for a list of defined terms used in the rules, see here!