Local food industry leaders voice concerns over bill that would ban single use plastics
Many people in the food industry are concerned about a bill banning certain single-use plastics on Oahu. They believe the way current legislation is written threatens local businesses. Originally, it was just for Styrofoam, plastic straws and utensils. But it ended up being against everything plastic.
"None of us can simply stand by and let this bill put local companies out of business," Jenai Wall, chair and CEO, Foodland Supermarket, said.
When changes were made, some business owners complain it happened without public input.
Mike Irish is owner of Halm's Enterprises, his company produces 4.5 tons of pickled kimchi daily.
If changes aren't made, he says...
"You're gonna see us losing jobs and eventually you'll be closing down businesses," Irish said.
What's not fair to many is it only regulates food manufactured on Oahu and not food manufactured out of state but brought into Hawaii.
"Mainland chip manufacturers, mainland meat, all imported goods will continue to bring plastic into our islands while local companies have to raise prices, cut jobs and even close their doors," Jason Higa, CEO, FCH Enterprises, parent company of Zippy's Restaurants, said.
Honolulu City Council member Joey Manahan introduced bill 40. He says it's not against all plastics.
"What we were trying to do is to push a discussion to get them to seriously think about being more eco and ocean friendly," Manahan said.
The non-profit environmental group Surfrider Foundation is helping with fine tuning the language in the measure.
"We're confident that the pros outweigh the cons and we really have to think about our future and what we're leaving behind for our island and our kids," Doorae Shin, Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter, said.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he'll sign this bill into law if it's done right and if it becomes law, it goes into effect January 1, 2021.
Read the bill here.