- Last week, the Hawaii County Council moved a bill that would ban EPS food containers to the county's Environmental Management Commission for additional input. Bill 13 will return to the council later this summer to be read and voted on, as reported by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
- If the council passes the measure, it would take effect July 1, 2019 with an "educational program" that would start in January 2019.
- Only one person, Joy Gold, a representative of an Oahu foam container manufacture, testified against the bill, according to the Tribune-Herald.
The Hawaii County Council's action comes right on the heels of Maui County's passed ban on EPS food containers from earlier in June. That bill, unanimously passed and signed by the mayor, will go into effect at the end of 2018 with fines up to $1,000 per day.
While clean polystyrene is recyclable, there aren't any drop-off or curbside recycling programs in Hawaii that accept the material. Dart has continued to open drop-off locations for recycling EPS, though, so it is entirely possible that a center could come to Hawaii, with one estimate saying 65,000 pounds of EPS products are used every day.
Due to its location, Hawaii is certainly no stranger to marine waste. Though there are plans to pick waste out of the ocean — and plans to keep waste from reaching the ocean in the first place — it's understandable that governments in Hawaii are taking steps to ban a common source marine litter. Hawaii has a strong record of environmentalism but is also plagued by a high poverty rate — so, even though state lawmakers have considered a statewide EPS ban, it is unclear Hawaii will see one anytime soon.