Hawaii Restaurant Affiliation amongst different organizations to use to Metropolis to increase the plastic ban for 2 years

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Time is running out for Oahu companies handing out plastic utensils, straws and bags to take away.

The city and county of Honolulu will begin enforcing the ban in two weeks.

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However, retail and restaurant associations are again calling for more time with the city and county of Honolulu.

The ban became law on January 1st, but due to the difficulties caused by the pandemic, Honolulu City and County granted companies a 90-day “training period” which expires on March 31st.

What you need to know about the new plastic ban

Companies say they aren’t against the law, they just need more time to make the switch. Some companies like Odori-ko are still using up their supplies of plastic boxes and plastic utensils. The owner says switching to eco-friendly products is not a viable option for them right now.

“We’ve been looking for eco-friendly take-out box options that are 50% to 75% more expensive,” said Hiro Takei, owner of Odori-ko restaurant. “So, a take-away box that I can buy for $ 12, it’s about $ 22 when I last saw it. It’s really expensive. “

He said there is a similar difference in the cost of utensils and straws, and that additional costs could add a dollar or more to food prices.

“These costs have to be passed on to customers to survive, but these are customers who have had financial difficulties over the past year,” Takei said.

Takei said he was ready to make the change, just not now.

“The intent of the law is good, I don’t doubt it’s for a good cause. I would agree, but let’s just catch our breath and relax a bit. “

Hiro Takei, Odori-ko owner

Because of these difficulties, the Hawaii Restaurant Association, the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, Hawaii Retailers, and the Hawaii Food Industry Association are filing an application for a two-year industry exemption with the Honolulu City and County Department of Environmental Services.

“With COVID there is a whole world of change for us,” said Victor Lim of the Hawaii Restaurant Association. “Companies were overwhelmed. You know our industry is likely to be life sustaining right now. “

City Councilor Brandon Elefante, who voted for the ordinance, said he understands that it can be a difficult time for businesses, but he believes it is the right time to move away from plastics.

“I had a feeling that it would be a long time before people were aware of this change in the law and planned it. In my opinion, the three months delay in training would have been enough, ”said Elefante.

He said we still need to consider the long-term effects of plastics use while balancing the needs of businesses amid the pandemic.

“We understand that there is a transition and additional costs,” said Elefante. “At the same time, however, we also have to consider the long-term effects. Do you know how we are good stewards for the protection of our environment? “

Takei said if the city and county of Honolulu meet the March 31 deadline, they should help businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce calls on the city to postpone the plastic ban that came into force in 2021

“How about a tax break?” said Takei. “How about a subsidy? They only know one way to offset the cost and spread the responsibility across more people than just small restaurant businesses like mine. “

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