Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PFK Art Contest Winners Announced!

PFK was overwhelmed by the creative entries from our first school project. A big thank you to all the Plastic Free Keiki who worked hard to show their passion and concern for our piece of Oahu. The variety of imagery was amazing and made the judging extremely difficult.

We want to send out a special congratulations to the top 5 submissions. These young artists will receive a special certificate and gift cards to California Pizza Kitchen as a thank you for their stunning work. PFK will feature these and other submissions in our educational displays throughout the year.

And now to important business: the winners are…

1st Place:
Lia Posatiere (Marine Debris Collage)
Age 10, Grade 5
Kainalu Elementary School

Honorable Mention:
Rahma Benotmane (Mokes Watercolor)
Age 12, Grade 7
Kailua Intermediate School

Honorable Mention:
Kaitlin Schell (Ocean Scene)
Age 12, Grade 7
Kailua Intermediate School

Honorable Mention:
Sammi Larson (Curb Bin)
Age 12, Grade 7
Kailua Intermediate School

Honorable Mention:
Tristan Clapp (Recycle Mokes Logo)
Age 12, Grade 7
Kailua Intermediate School

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hawai'i Plastic Bag Legislation this session! UPDATED 3.19.11

Below is an overview of the plastic bag bills in the legislature right now. We also want to introduce you to Sierra Club's Capitol Watch website, which will be tracking these bills under the category of "Opala" (Trash) and other bills that affect our oceans under the category of "Marine Coastal." Please bookmark this website because we're partnering with Sierra to make this our one-stop shop for checking on the status of bills, learning about their content and submitting online testimony.

If you want to learn more about the legislative process and submitting testimony, Kanu Hawaii is hosting fun & informal Rotunda Roundup Workshops Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Capitol. This part of their Citizen Challenge 2011. They have invited Stuart Coleman of Surfrider Foundation to talk about the plastic bag bills, what we can do to advance them and reduce plastic pollution in Hawaii on 2/3. Robert Harris of the Hawaii Sierra Club will speak 2/10.

Stuart writes: "We have a lot of momentum to pass one of the bag bills this session--so let's rally and make it happen! We are part of a national and local movement that includes Surfrider, Sierra Club, Kokua HI, Kanu HI, Plastic-Free HI, the Plastic Pollution Coalition and many other groups and individuals."

Here's a list of the bag bills this session:

SB1363 -- Requires businesses to collect an offset fee for distribution of every non-reusable checkout bag. Provides for the department of health to collect seventy-five per cent of offset fee to be used for administration and enforcement. Allows businesses to retain twenty-five per cent of offset fee as taxable income. Exempts offset fee from excise tax. **NEEDS TESTIMONY NOW**
3/18/2011HBill scheduled to be heard by EEP/ERB on Tuesday, 03-22-11 10:40AM in House conference room 312.
This measure creates a fee for all single-use bags, paper or plastic, and gives stores a reason to encourage their customers to use less harmful bags. This simple fee would help make shoppers aware of the economic and environmental costs of single-use bags in Hawai‘i. Single-use bags are simply not in Hawai`i’s sustainable future and strong efforts should be made to discourage their continued use. Single use bags are an expense that is not directly visible to consumers, but an average supermarket can spend $1,500 to $6,000 a month to provide them. By assessing a fee, we actualize this cost, create a disincentive to the continued use of the bags, and provide the State with needed income for sorely underfunded environmental programs. For more info contact Opala Captain Joy Leilei Shih at joyshih@hawaii.edu
 SB1059 - This bill is a plastic bag ban that allows stores to still distribute paper or biodegradable plastic bags. It currently states that beginning on July 1, 2012, businesses with annual gross sales of over $300,000 are prohibited from distributing single-use plastic checkout bags to their customers at the point of sale.e.

3/8/2011HReceived from Senate (Sen. Com. No. 234) in amended form (SD 2).
3/10/2011HPass First Reading
3/10/2011HReferred to EEP, ERB, FIN, referral sheet 33

    SB1370 – This ban bill would require businesses with annual gross sales of over $250,000 to switch to biodegradable plastic bags beginning on January 1, 2012.

    HB891 - This bill would ban non-compostable plastic bags beginning January 1, 2013 for all business operators of businesses with annual gross sales of $500,000 or more.

    HB998 – This bill would require businesses to collect a 10 cent fee on disposable plastic checkout bags beginning January 1, 2012. The business would keep half of the fee, and the other half would go towards the Energy sustainability special fund.
    2/18/2011HPassed Second Reading as amended in HD 1 and referred to the committee(s) on FIN 
    3/03/2011 We'd like a House Bill to increase the chances of success! HB 998 has not been scheduled for its final hearing, and this is the last week to do so before it dies. Please CALL Rep. Oshiro's office TODAY and ask him to schedule a Finance Committee hearing 808-586-6200. 

    HB1401 – This bill mandates the use of recyclable, compostable, and reusable checkout bags by businesses with annual gross sales over $250,000 beginning January 1, 2012.

    HB1601 - This bill states that beginning on July 1, 2012, all business operators are prohibited from providing plastic carryout bags to consumers at the point of sale, including compostable plastic bags, but still allowing paper bags.

    Note: Most bills still allow plastic bags necessary for produce, grains, newspapers, dry-cleaning, prescriptions and the like. As currently stated in the bills, a statewide fee would not overturn the bans already in place in Maui and Kauai counties.

    You can testify by going to www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony/ and referencing the bill number, your name, address, and the date/time of the hearing.

    Sample Testimony: (Make it your own and add specific details that you support about each bill. You can mention that you are a member of PFH and want to reduce plastic pollution and the amount of waste going into our environment, oceans and landfills.) See/ Add more in Comments below...

    I am writing to comment in support of Bill -----. Regulating single-use plastic bags will help make Hawaii a model state for sustainable change.

    Hawaii, especially Oahu, is at a crucial moment for waste management. Despite the efforts of the H-Power waste-to-energy program, high rates of recycling, and a high landfill diversion rate, our facilities and landfills are overwhelmed. Legislating source reduction and behavior changing regulation is the targeted solution.

    The harmful cost of single-use plastics stretches from the oil it takes to produce it, to the health of the consumer, to the cost of disposal, and finally to the marine ecosystems it wrecks. Plastic is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Almost every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists. Once discarded in the environment, plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller particles. Patches of plastic pollution cover millions of square miles of ocean near Hawaii. Tragically, this plastic also ends up in the stomachs of marine birds and animals. Moreover, the creation and distribution of plastic products increases our polluting carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

    Reusable bags allow new avenues for marketing and save the retailer and consumer money. Consumers actually pay hidden costs for so-called free bags. Further, reducing the consumption of single-use plastic bags will bring in money for our state and save money in clean-up costs. The taxpayer cost to subsidize the recycling, collection, and disposal of plastic and paper bags is more than the cost of the bag.

    Our taxpayer dollars are being used to subsidize the cost of waste. Much of this money could be redirected to benefit our state. Similar laws have been passed worldwide and have proven to be successful. For example, when Washington D.C. instituted its recent five-cent fee, bag use declined from an average of 22.5 million per month to 3 million in the very first month, and fees generated about $150,000 for use by the city.

    This bill effectively addresses the issue of plastic pollution by positively changing consumer behavior, decreasing external costs, and decreasing the amount of waste Hawaii produces.

    I am a member of Plastic Free Hawaii (Kailua Chapter), a coalition of community members and businesses that strives to educate the stores, restaurants, residents, and visitors of Kailua on the environmental and health benefits of going plastic free. Find out more about us at http://plasticfreekailua.blogspot.com/

    Mahalo for the opportunity to testify on this matter.

    Learn more about the HI Legislative Process at the links above and at the Hawaii Public Access Room.

    Surfrider will also be hosting a free and fun screening of the new documentary "Bag It" at the Capitol with pupus and a panel discussion afterward on Wed., 2/16, at 5:30pm in the Auditorium. You can learn more and RSVP at Facebook.