WAILUKU – The Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee will consider a bill on Monday, July 28, at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber in Wailuku, to ban the use and sale of polystyrene disposable food service containers, Committee Chair Elle Cochran announced today.
The bill, introduced by Councilmember Michael Victorino, would prohibit food establishments and vendors from using or selling polystyrene food containers. The most well-known polystyrene product is Styrofoam, which is widely used by residents for plate lunches and take-out containers.
“When ingested, polystyrene may become lethal to our marine animals and birds. It is not biodegradable and can exist in our landfills for hundreds of years. These widely recognized environmental impacts show good cause for consideration of a countywide ban,” Cochran said. “It is our duty as council members to implement policies that will protect and preserve our natural resources.”
Exemptions in the bill include prepared foods packaged outside the county and polystyrene foam coolers and ice chests specifically designed for multiple re-use.
Food providers will be able to apply for a one-year exemption if they can show that no reasonable alternative to polystyrene containers is available or if compliance with the ban would cause significant economic hardship.
“Considering our community’s collective success and ability to adjust to the plastic bag ban implemented in 2011, it seems to be a reasonable next step that we address the issues surrounding polystyrene containers,” Cochran said. “The bill would promote environmental awareness and support responsible waste management.”