On Thursday, April 1, after a three-month delay due to the pandemic, City & County of Honolulu Ordinance 19-30 went into effect. As a result, you should remember to pack a reusable bag when visiting Oahu – even more so now than before.
On July 1, 2015, City Ordinance 9-9.1 to 9-9.4 banned the use of all single-use plastic bags at checkout for most businesses. However, the Ordinance has many exemptions written into it. For example, bags to hold loose produce, frozen foods, etc., remain ok. Plastic bags for to-go food also remained ok at the time. But that’s no longer the case.
City Ordinance 19-30
With an original effective date of January 1, 2021, the implementation of City Ordinance 19-30 was delayed by 90 days to provide businesses hard hit by COVID-19 with some relief. But those 90 days are now over, and as a result, City Ordinance 19-30 is now in effect. As you might suspect, this new ordinance builds upon the ones enacted in 2015. So, now, single-use plastic bags are no longer allowed at food service establishments too now. Joining those bags, though is disposable service ware made of petroleum-derived plastic, is also no longer allowed. Whatsmore, the ordinance stipulates that plastic-free service ware may only be provided by request or in a self-service area or dispenser.
Not included in the enhanced ordinance are the handleless plastic bags for loose produce, etc. These types of bags remain exempt. Recyclable paper bags are also good.
Phase 2 of City Ordinance 19-30
The above regulations are only the first phase of City Ordinance 19-39. Phase 2, slated to go into effect on January 1, 2022, further bans polystyrene foam containers. Plus, disposable plastic food ware except for packaging for raw food, prepackaged food, and shelf-stable food will also no longer be allowed.
Pack a Reusable Bag When Visiting Oahu, Final Thoughts
On second thought, don’t pack a reusable bag. Many hotels are providing reusable bags to guests – at least during my recent stay. Those hotels include the Waikiki Beach Marriott, the Ritz-Carlton Residence Waikiki Beach, and the Westin Moana Surfrider. And even if you don’t get a reusable bag at check-in, many local vendors sell their own too. In fact, might I suggest taking a look at the bags offered by Foodland Hawaii? They’re not only inexpensive, but they’re uniquely local and make for great gifts too.