New trash bag aimed at reducing illegal dumping, rummaging in Chinatown
City officials are working with Chinatown businesses to prevent illegal dumping and rummaging.
Monday, city and county officials introduced the distinct bags as part of a new policy aimed to keep Chinatown streets clean and ease garbage collection problems for businesses.
Trash will not be picked up by the city if they aren't in bright yellow bags with the 'The City and County of Honolulu' label. Officials hope this will deter people from illegally dumping bags on the street or from opening them.
Business owners KITV4 spoke to support the move, but add that more enforcement needs to be done.
A revised ordinance also makes it illegal to open garbage bags that have been put out for collection -- a tool for environmental inspectors to fine violators up to $2,500.
"Now we can determine what is city's and what are people who are illegally adding to the pile who are getting free service because the businesses pay us," said Department of Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina.
About 90 merchants have their trash collected by the city six days a week. Chinatown is the only area with such a city service.
For now, the bags are free for businesses. By February next year, merchants will need to purchase them for 60 cents each.
One shop worker said that is three times what she pays now for a black industrial style trash bag that's just as strong. Her shop uses about 100 bags a week, which means added costs.
She noted the yellow bags won't deter rummagers from cutting open the bags with a sharp object.