Hawaii is the first US state to ban plastic bags from being distributed at grocery store checkouts.
Like France, the state of Hawaii (US) seems intent on leading the rest of the world into a sustainable era. Recently news was shared of its plans to transform old buses into homeless shelters, and now the Huffington Post has just released word of its latest plan to reduce pollution by banning plastic bags from being used at grocery stores.
With between 500 billion and trillion plastic bags consumed worldwide each year, reducing their use is one way to ensure they no longer ‘sack’ the environment.
And Hawaii is ahead of the game, as the City and County of Honolulu is now enforcing a ban that prohibits stores from handing plastic bags to customers at checkout. This makes Oahu the last populated island in the state to give the bags the boot. Some plastics are exempted, however, including compostable bags and those used within a store for bulk items or those used for medical or sanitary purpose.
Because the United States is one of the biggest contributors to ocean garbage patches, initiative taken by states like Hawaii and California (which passed a similar ban approved by state legislature but has since been put on hold) should hopefully inspire action elsewhere.
The issue concerning plastic is that even if one consciously re-uses their bags, they are still more than likely to end sitting in a landfill, adding to the 28 billion pounds of plastic already clogging up the oceans. Furthermore, they may then be ingested or otherwise harm marine animals, causing even more detriment to the environment.
For this reason, one of the best things consumers can do is to bring their own reusable bag to a store and opt out of using plastic bags completely. In stores (Vitamin Cottage in the US is a great example) where bags aren’t even offered – only boxes to be recycled – no alternative can provide incentive for humans to form habit of bringing their own bag(s) to the store.
Slowly but surely, it can be done, and Hawaii has taken the first steps of making such a vision possible.
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