LIHU‘E — Starting Friday, a policy prohibiting county funds from being used for single-use, disposable plastics will go into effect.
In February of this year, Mayor Derek Kawakami signed a policy that prohibits the purchase, use or distribution of disposable plastics on county properties or facilities. And the pandemic won’t delay it.
This policy restricts county agencies and other entities using county-owned facilities from purchasing and distributing single-use plastics like bottled water, plastic beverage straws, stirrers, cutlery, food-service ware and plastic bags.
This includes purchases made for county offices, facilities, county events and events funded by the county through grants or other means. This includes events at Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, neighborhood centers and park pavilions.
The administration was set to present the proposal to the County Council in early March, but due to the onset of the pandemic that meeting was canceled, so the item was deferred.
While the county Department of Parks and Recreation is not currently issuing permits for county facilities, neighborhood centers or pavilions, county Department of Public Works Acting Solid Waste Chief Allison Fraley said that language will be integrated into permit applications to educate people about the policy.
“They will be notified in advance and have plenty of time to meet their plans with plenty of resources and information to be able to comply,” Fraley told the council last month.
Fraley also specified that the policy isn’t going to be directed at just anybody with single-use plastics.
“It’s not going to be like somebody who goes to the beach and has a water bottle,” Fraley said. “That is not who it’s going to apply to, but for events that require a permit or for contractors that the county contracts with or grants that the county gives out that would be part of the grant.”
The administrative policy will go into effect on Jan. 1, with exemptions for plastic trash bags, utility gloves, catered food purchases and emergency products.
The policy initially came up with the council’s bill to prohibit the sale and use of styrofoam food-service containers. This county-wide policy will start in 2022.
“As a reminder for everybody, it requires that any monies that the county would be expending would not be spent on things like disposal plastics, plastic forks, plastic bags and these types of things,” County of Kaua‘i Managing Director Michael Dahilig said.
“So anything considered to be purchased with county monies would not be used for single-use plastics.”
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.