LIHU‘E — A bill first introduced in February that would restrict the use and sale of styrofoam foodservice containers is being amended and pushed off due to economic uncertainty sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kaua‘i County Councilmember Luke Evslin suggested four major changes to Bill No. 2775 vast enough to send the bill back to the public hearing stage later this summer.
If passed without these amendments, the bill would have taken effect on the first of 2021. Evslin suggested a delay to 2022, and an additional point that the county engineer or other authority offers an update to the public on implementation. He also said he hopes the next council reevaluates the economy and possibly delay the ordinance even further.
“Nobody knew what was coming, now we are possibly losing 15-20% of our restaurants and economic uncertainty,” Evslin said. “The hope will be that we are past the economic crisis (by then).”
Evslin also suggested expanding the scope of the bill to require compostable alternatives and changes some of the language to better reflect that used an ordinance used on other islands who have passed similar bills.
Three people associated with the Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai‘i offered their support in public testimony, suggested that the bill expands to egg cartons, and offered first-hand experience in how styrofoam, or polystyrene foam, affects the environment.
Polystyrene foam, which is nondegradable, breaks down easily in water and can be eaten by fish, birds and other marine life, in addition to mass amounts of litter.
The Solid Waste Division offered its support to the delay of the bill as well as the standards for compostable products.
Councilmembers voted approved the amendments, with Vice Chair Ross Kagawa excused. A public hearing for this bill will be Wednesday, Aug. 5.