Some plastic bags are already banned on Oahu --  but environmentalists and a Honolulu Councilman want to block even more plastic from the check out stand. 

     At Pearl Harbor Elementary School's Green Club students work to recycle waste and care for the environment. It is also where the plastic bag bill is a hot topic. 

     "I would like to see plastic bags get banned," said 4th grader Katrina Carter.

     "They are killing leatherback sea turtles," added 5th grader Natalie Tulba.

     "The leatherback sea turtle population has been declining 90% since plastic bags. Because all they eat is jellyfish, and a plastic bag floating in the ocean looks like a jellyfish and they would likely eat it," said Suzanne Frazer with the nonprofit Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii (B.E.A.C.H.).

     The students even submitted testimony against the current version of the plastic bag bill, just some of the hundreds who have testified.

     "They should ban plastic bags because people give money to the stores, and they don't even recycle their bags," said Tulba.

     The council bill would just require businesses to charge 10 cents for a bag at checkout.
    But Brandon Elefante has proposed a version that would ban more plastic bags.

"The goal is to phase out and eliminate that so people bring in their own reusable tote or cloth type of material bag and reuse that," said Councilman Elefante.

     Just two years ago, council members put the plastic bag ban into place and they've found it has changed the way grocery stores and other retailers do business.

     "We found over 90% of businesses are complying," stated Elefante.

     But instead of getting rid of plastic, many stores switched to thicker bags that can be reused.
     Now the days of checking out with reusable plastic bags could be numbered if Elefante gets his way, "I am proposing a floor draft, which would completely ban reusable plastic checkout bags by January 1, 2020."

     But even that wouldn't actually block all plastic bags from being used.

     "For restaurants or take out, they can still provide plastic bags. Those are under the exemptions," stated Elefante.

     No matter which version is adopted or rejected at Wednesday's City Council meeting, plastic take out bags will still cause trouble for our environment.

     "When we go to the beach and do cleanups we're finding 2/3 of the bags are from takeout food. So you are still getting a lot of plastic bags at the beach," added Frazer.