13 Feb 2009

Hawaii's merchants upset about plastic bag plans

12:14 pm on 13 February 2009

Hawaii's merchants are voicing their opposition to lawmakers over several proposals that would significantly increase operating costs as it won't resolve environmental concerns over plastic bags.

Three bills before the state Senate hope to prohibit the use of plastic bags by retailers, provide a financial incentive not to use them and offer options of recycling programs and a switch to biodegradable bags.

Spokesperson for Retail Merchants of Hawaii, Carol Pregill, says plastic bags are very cost effective for retailers who are currently facing tough economic times.

While she understands people's environmental concerns about plastic bag usage, she says people need to change their ways on their own - without introducing new state laws.

"Of the sea mammal thing we are sensitive to that. But the overriding question is behaviour. It's not the item itself it's people's behaviour that gets the item out there. In this economy I guess you have to call it a 64 million dollar question. And we do believe people's behaviour to change, but its going to take time."

Retail Merchants of Hawaii spokesperson, Carol Pregill.

All three proposals want the move to ban plastic bags to take effect from January 2011.