6 Feb 2018

Hawai'i tables bill to ban plastic straws

7:38 am on 6 February 2018

The US state of Hawai'i has introduced a bill to ban the sale and distribution of plastic straws in an effort to improve the environment.

Plastics wash ashore on the tide.

Plastics wash ashore on the tide. Photo: paktaotik2/123RF

The bill, sponsored by Senator Karl Rhoads, passed the Committee on Agriculture and Environment last week despite opposition from some businesses whose customers regularly use plastic straws.

Amanda Kelly from the Hawai'i Association for Behaviour Analysis said straws were among the top ten items polluting the ocean.

"In the United States there's over 500 million estimated used per day. The average person, they say in the US, uses 1.6 which is almost 585 straws in one year," said Ms Kelly.

"There are infiltration systems and filters that look to catch trash before it goes into our streams and oceans, but straws are unique because of their shape. So they are very narrow and they fit through small holes and a lot of those filtration systems."

Ms Kelly said the bill proposed violators would have to pick up litter as community service or face fines.

The SB2285 bill now moves to the joint Ways and Means and Judiciary committees for consideration.

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