(BIVN) – The Hawaii County Council voted to pass Bill 13, the polystyrene foam reduction bill, on first reading during Thursday’s meeting in Hilo.
The proposed law has been floating around for years but the council has not had the votes to approve it. Puna councilwoman Eileen O’Hara took the lead in recent months to resurrect the bill. Today’s vote was 7 to 2 in favor of the measure. The two Hilo councilmembers, Aaron Chung and Sue Lee Loy, voted no.
Bill 13 prohibits food vendors from dispensing prepared food in disposable polystyrene food service ware effective July 1, 2019.
The bill exempts ice chests and coolers; packaging for raw meat, fish, and eggs that have not been further processed; County facility users and food vendors with approval by the Environmental Management Director; and County facility users and food vendors procuring supplies during an event declared as an emergency by the Mayor.
The above video features the councilmember discussion that occurred after public testimony, which was once again in overwhelming support of the bill.
Big Island Video news will feature the public testimony in a coming news story.
CORRECTION: In the above video, we inadvertently identified Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara as the district 5 councilmember and Jen Ruggles as the district 4 councilmember. It should be the other way around. O’Hara serves district 4 and Ruggles serves district 5.