The opportunity to close the loophole in Oahu’s plastic bag bill is upon us again. On Wednesday June 7th, the full council will take up Bill 59 (2016) once again. They will present a version proposed by Councilmember Fukanaga that we do not support, but Councilmember Elefante will be introducing Bill 59 (2016) Proposed FD2 which we support.

We need all of you to help persuade our council to take on the proposed FD2 that phases out all plastic check-out bags by 2020. Here are three levels of involvement that you can take part in to make this change possible. In all cases please document and share your correspondence. You can really advance the cause by getting 5 more people to do the same.

  1. Call your Council Member before Wednesday’s vote and make your case to them to phase out plastic bags (see talking points below and add your own story).
  2. Send in testimony following the outline below using the City and County testimony forms.
  3. Please show up in person with us next Wednesday and voice your opinion on the open record.

Use this link to find you council members phone numbers by district.

Use this link to go to the testimony page and fill in the form with your name and then as you see in the following image.



Your testimony:

  • I strongly support Bill 59 (2016) Proposed FD2, proposed by CM Elefante as this will phase out the use of plastic bags in our state for check-out, while also giving the community incentive to move towards a re-usable mindset that saves vital resources, helps eliminate litter, and protects our marine environment from future plastic pollution.
  • I oppose Bill 59 (2016) Fd1 as is, because this creates larger confusion & possible loopholes in what types of bags will be allowed in the future, without phasing out the thicker plastic bags.

Why I support plastic bag legislation:

  • Plastic bags are not an environmentally friendly option at the checkout since they are not biodegradable or compostable at all! A huge problem with plastic bags, plastic bottles and other plastic materials is that they can take decades or centuries to degrade. Essentially, they’re with us in the environment forever.
  • Environmentally, they threaten wildlife—over 663 species of ocean life have ingested or become entangled in plastic pollution.
  • Plastic is costing cities, counties, states, & countries millions of dollars and our global economy billions. Costs are passed to the taxpayers by burdening our storm water management systems with the need for expensive best management practices and the costs of cleanups.
  • Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation has produced a trash plan that shows styrofoam and plastic bags as the top two contributors to the waste stream.
  • The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) created a plastic cleanup valuation study for 90+ counties in California:
    • CA taxpayers are paying $428 million per year to clean up plastic through storm drain management, street sweeping, and cleanups.
    • San Diego County (with population of 1.3 equivalent to Hawaii) spends $14 million alone on plastic cleanup
  • United Nations Environmental Program Global Estimates are in the billions for the global cost to cleanup plastics, $14 billion for marine plastic alone.
  • This cost is closer to $78 billion annually if all costs are considered, including the cost lost in fossil fuel production and loss of resources.