Maui County Council approves plastic disposable utensils ban

WAILUKU — Nearly all the sales and use of plastic disposable food ware in Maui will be banned under a bill that was given final approval by county officials.

The Maui County Council voted unanimously Friday to approve the measure, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2022, Maui News reported.

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The bill next heads to Mayor Michael Victorino for his approval and signature.

Food providers in county facilities or county-sponsored or county-permitted events will be prohibited from selling, using and providing plastic disposable food ware, according to the bill.

Nonplastic alternative utensils are permitted upon customer request.

Legislation includes banning forks, knives, spoons, straws, coffee stirrers, cocktail picks and chopsticks, but there are some exceptions to the measure, county officials said.

Exceptions include plastic used for raw or butchered meats, poultry, seafood, unprepared produce or eggs, officials said. Plastic straws for people with disabilities or in hospitals, nursing homes or other care or medical facilities are also exempt.

Prepackaged foods also are exempted.

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If there are no reasonable alternatives to plastic usage, food providers are able to seek an exemption from the county.

The bill’s approval comes months after Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a similar bill into law in December. That law prohibits all single-use plastic and polystyrene food service items on Oahu and will take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

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