2017 Hawai’i State Legislature Round Up

 

Well, it’s May 5th, which means the Hawai’i State Legislature is in recess until January 2018 (they can and may be called into special session later this year, most likely to pass a funding bill for Honolulu Rail).

Unfortunately the list of good environmental bills that made it into law is short – from pesticides to clean energy, some of our state legislators took a pass on making our environmental future brighter. Our friends who work on affordable housing and other important social issues also saw very little helpful legislation passed.

But on the bright side – we were successful at beating back many bad bills. House Bill 1536 was killed and House Bill 1469 was recommitted to next year’s session, in no small part because of Sierra Club of Hawai’i’s Executive Director Marti Townsend.

There was also some great creative activism around HB1580, a cutting edge bill that set a goal of 100% clean ground transportation by 2045 – #Bananasfor1580. Although HB1580 was eventually killed, it spurred many new and young activists to participate, and we’re excited to see what’s in store for 2018! Learn more about #Bananasfor1580.

Sierra Club Maui Group wants to extend a huge mahalo to all Sierra Club of Hawai’i Chapter Staff and allies in Honolulu who worked tirelessly to pass the good bills and beat back the bad ones!

If you want to get involved more with helping pass good bills in the next legislative session, sign up for Sierra Club of Hawai’i’s Capitol Watch Action Network.

Ban the Foam! VICTORY!

UPDATE: VICTORY!

The Maui County Council unanimously passed the ordinance to ban polystyrene foam containers in Maui County! Ban goes into effect on December 31, 2018.

 


On Monday, May 8, 2017 the Maui County Council will make the final vote on whether to ban polystyrene (styrofoam) food containers in Maui County (Bill No. 127 – 2016). Starting at 9 am, the public can testify in person.

Here’s Why We Need a Ban:

  • Polystyrene, as a single-use toxic plastic, poses significant environmental harm to our terrestrial and ocean environment.
  • Polystyrene foam products do not biodegrade and instead break down into micro-plastics that are often consumed by seabirds and other marine animals.
  • Over 80 municipalities across the U.S. have banned polystyrene, due to its significant environmental impacts.
  • Compostable containers are non-toxic, plant-based and carried by every distributor in Hawai’i.
  • The resources and energy to make 1 polystyrene container could make 3 compostable containers.
  • To date, there have been no documented cases of restaurants or food providers going out of business because of similar polystyrene phase outs.
  • Over 3 million tons of polystyrene products are disposed of annually in U.S. landfills.
  • Polystyrene cannot be recycled after use with food, and ultimately, less than 1% of polystyrene is recycled.
  • They are more than 90% air, causing them to break apart easily and litter waterways and blow out to sea.
  • Eco-friendly containers (either compostable or reusable) are economical and eco-friendly alternatives to polystyrene.
  • The price different between polystyrene and eco-friendly alternatives is virtually $0. The price difference between many compostable products and polystyrene is negligible, and there are, in fact, a number of compostable products that are cheaper than their polystyrene counterparts.
  • Recognizing the environmental impacts of polystyrene, a number of local, Maui-based restaurants have switched to compostable, eco-friendly products and been happy with the results.
  • The ordinance bill will not go into effect until July 2018. This gives Maui County’s restaurants plenty of time to test out the many eco-friendly alternatives and find which works best for them.
  • Maui County needs a full phase out to gain the many positive benefits that will come from eliminating polystyrene food containers on our islands. Our future generations will thank the Council for supporting this important ordinance bill.

 

Please come testify in person in support of Bill 127 (2016) “The Ban the Foam Bill” on Monday, May 8th at 9 am at Maui County’s Council Chamber, 8th Floor, 200 South High Street, Wailuku.