Bill 40, one of the strongest single-use plastic ban in the nation, was approved by the Honolulu City Council on December 4, 2019 by a margin of 7 to 2. The mayor signed it into law on December 15, 2019. This law bans nearly all takeout plastic over the next two years across the island of Oahu, which is home to 72% of Hawaii's population.
After over a decade of advocacy, the Surfrider Foundation's Oahu Chapter worked to pass this single-use plastics ban for the island. Bill 40 phases out the use of plastic bags, polystyrene foodware (“Styrofoam”, plastic containers, cups, lids, and single-use plastic servicewear like straws, stirrers and utensils. Businesses will have to move towards using paper and plant-based compostable products, many of which look and feel like plastic. This is the most comprehensive regulation on plastics in the nation and indicates a strong move towards the State's sustainability goals. This bill is an important step in reducing dependence on fossil fuels for disposable goods and in encouraging positive business practices.
The Oahu Chapter worked closely with a coalition of non-profits, businesses, councilmembers, youth, and community members to pass the final version of this bill. They include: Zero Waste Oahu, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, B.E.A.C.H, City Councilmembers Joey Manahan and Tommy Waters, Hawaii Youth Climate Coalition, several Ocean Friendly Restaurants, Sustainable Island Products, and more.