Hawaii lawmakers consider statewide Styrofoam ban for food vendo - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Hawaii lawmakers consider statewide Styrofoam ban for food vendors

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There's nothing like smelling the food after you open your take out box, but as food lovers finished up their plate lunches Wednesday afternoon, the focus at Hawaii's state capitol was on the packaging.

"It's a carcinogen in animals, and a likely carcinogen in humans," said Rafael Bergstrom, of the Surfrider Foundation.

Bergstrom has been working with Hawaii lawmakers on a bill to ban food vendors from using Styrofoam boxes. 

Suzanne Frazer, co-founder of the BEACH Environmental Awareness Campaign supports the ban.

"It's weighing up, do I want to have cancer in 10-20 years time? Or do I want to pay another 25-cents for a safe container?'" said Frazer. 

Proponents hope the move will push food vendors toward more environmentally friendly options-- but not everyone is on board.

"It's going to drive the cost of business up, you're going to pay more for your plate lunches," said Tina Yamaki, President of Retail Merchants of Hawaii. 

Retail Merchants of Hawaii says the bill can hurt the bottom line of many small businesses. 

"A lot of Mom and Pops can’t afford it, the other non-Styrofoam containers are 2-3 times the cost of what they're doing now," said Yamaki.  

Despite opposition, supporters believe it's time to think about the big picture.

"We have this culture of convenience where we want the cheapest and easiest thing, but that's not necessarily the reason, to keep doing something that's not good for environment and our community anymore," said Bergstrom.

The bill passed two committees Wednesday afternoon, and will go on to the full senate. 

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