Kaua'i is doing away with plastic takeout boxes

Jim Karlovsky

Island eateries will no longer serve food in polystyrene containers beginning Jan. 1, when a county ordinance passed in 2020 finally takes effect. Kaua‘i Division of Solid Waste personnel has stated that this has been in the works for a while and are the last county to pass this law. About 80% of Kaua'i's restaurant owners and employees of businesses have already changed over to compostable food containers prior to the new law going into effect. Solid Waste Program Development Coordinators plan to begin visiting island businesses to identify and assist those who haven’t made the switch. 

Polystyrene is a plastic foam that isn’t degradable or feasibly recyclable in Hawai‘i. But it is lightweight, and easily breaks down into bite-size pieces consumed by marine and avian life. This environmental impact is exacerbated on the Hawaiian Islands, where plate lunches and food trucks are common. The polystyrene ordinance applies to plates, trays, cups, bowls, cartons and clamshell boxes. Compostable alternatives are more expensive than polystyrene containers but the price gap continues to narrow. It's a price worth paying to save our island, oceans, and community. 
For more info go to:  https://www.kauai.gov/polystyreneban.

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