Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hawai'i's Bag Fee Legislation

So, here I am on my wonderful Hawai’ian vacation (actually free-boardin’ at Mom’s), suckin’ up moco loco & pancakes at Zippy’s, bustin’ out the Honolulu Advertiser, Aloha Friday edition (swell don’t arrive ‘till Monday)…and lo & behold, there is an Op/Ed page piece by Stuart H. Coleman, Surfrider’s own Hawaiian Islands Field Coordinator, concerning a pending state-wide legislative bill that would implement a 5-cent fee for all plastic bags dispensed at grocery checkout. Can we call this “Hawai’I 0-5”? (queue the drums of the TV show theme song.)

Maui and Kaua’i have already enacted county-wide (each island is its own county of the same name) bans that will take effect 1/1/11. There is a chance that the new proposed fee, being statewide, could supersede the outright bans on those two islands. Not what we’d like to see, frankly, but as the saying goes, “somes better’n none”. Stay tuned for that teapot tempest.

Details about the fee (not a “tax”, haole-boy) are in Stu's Op/Ed item and in a local KITV feature report. Of course, we’d love to see a higher fee being proposed, but this may work well here as retailers & legislators both see it as "relatively painless" – and, as we’ve found in places like Washington DC, even a small fee can change the knee-jerk acceptance of these insipid items of environment-threatening instant trash.

Sidebar note: The KITV video also actually shows Stuart doing a bit of grocery shopping too – dispelling any rumors that after becoming “rich and famous”, as the author of the best selling Island-based tomes Eddie Would Go and last year’s Fierce Heart, that he has his own personal shopper taking care of that mundane task - check ‘um out, bra!