Sunday, March 27, 2011

HI Plastic Bag Legislation Updated 4.28.2011

We’ve reached a make or break moment! Here's the latest on what YOU can do to help reduce plastic bags in Hawaii. It’s really easy – just an email to, -- more details at the link or quoted below!
UPDATE 4/15: The bill passed with amendments in the House and is sent back to the Senate for debate again...It's not too late to send in support by following directions below!

UPDATE 4/28: From HI Sierra Club Capitol Watch: The next 48 hours could decide whether Hawaii significantly reduces the approximately 500 million single-use paper and plastic bags used each year. Senate Bill 1363, which places a small fee on most paper and plastic bags, is on the brink of passage. But we need the backing of Representative Marcus Oshiro to move forward. Taking action is really easy – you can call Representative Marcus Oshiro at 586-6200 (preferred). Or you can email all of the conference committee members.,,,,,,,,,

Once again Hawaii has an opportunity to lead America on an important environmental issue: we could be the first state in the nation to significantly reduce consumption of throwaway paper and plastic bags.
We’ve reached a make or break moment – a pivotal point where a little public action could be enough to secure victory. The bill to impose a fee on most single-use paper or plastic bags, is really close to passage.
We already pay for these bags, but the cost is hidden in the overall price of the products we buy. Experience in other states and countries has proved that once people are made aware of what these bags cost – by being required to pay a small fee per bag at the checkout- they change their behavior and start to employ reusable bags.
The bill has just one last committee to pass, Finance, and then a vote in the full House and Senate. We think 500 emails, phone calls, or public calls for its passage would probably be enough to get it passed. Wouldn’t you like to be one of those 500?
It’s really easy – just email all the Senators and all the members of the House of Representatives with a single click on each of these links below:

Say something along these lines:
  • I strongly support legislative efforts to reduce the use of paper and plastic bags.
  • Over 12,000 plastic bags are used in the United States every second.
  • In this country we consume an astounding 100 billion throwaway plastic bags every year made from some 12 million barrels of oil.
  • These bags clog our streets, foul our open space, pollute our fragile marine environment and kill thousands of animals every year.
Please pass SB1363 and protect Hawaii's fragile environment from the millions of bags wasted each year.

More information can also be found at the Capitol Watch site or on our Legislative Tracker.

P.S. In the time it has taken you to read this message, about 500,000 throwaway plastic bags have been used.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Refuse: Exhibition and Awareness at Mu'uMu'u Heaven + more...

There is an exceptionally fun day planned for this Saturday, March 19th at PFK partner Mu‘umu‘u Heaven. Starting at 10am that morning, they will be helping to coordinate an art installation  using plastic rubbish collected from the Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter's beach cleanup that many of you participated in last Sunday in Waimanalo.

Dianna Cohen, artist and environmental activist, is spearheading the installation with the help of MH's own Aerin Vanhalla and a group of young environmentalists in training (i.e., Kids) from the local area. If you want to come help out or even just watch it all go down, come by Saturday morning around 10am - at Mu‘umu‘u Heaven in Kailua.

You may want to just pack a change of clothes, hit the beach and make a whole day of it in Kailua this Saturday, because they are really kicking into high gear with a big reception for this installation and other related art pieces from 6-8pm. They'll have pupu's from Town restaurant, refreshments - it should be a very fun and inspiring night.

This celebration is in advance of the 5th International Marine Debris Conference happening in Honolulu next week. Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Plastic Free Hawaii will be helping with presentations and events so check it out. This conference will highlight research advances, allow sharing of strategies and best practices to assess, reduce, and prevent the impacts of marine debris, and provide an opportunity for the development of specific bilateral or multi-country strategies.

A number of fun events are happening next week in honor of the conference. Monday, March 21 Surfrider Foundation is showing acclaimed documentary Bag It at The Venue at 7pm! More details on facebook. They are also holding a benefit and Rise Above Plastics Party at the Waikiki Aquarium Saturday, March 26th, 6-9pm.

Monday, March 7, 2011

HI Bag Ban Legislation Update

Here's the latest from Sierra Club Hawai'i's Capitol Watch 2011.
So we've reached the half way mark in this session of the Legislature. Bills that have made it through hearings in one body must pass a vote on the floor and then cross over and run the gauntlet in the other body. All this week legislators will be voting which bills to send over.
Club Director Robert Harris has placed SB1363 on his Top 10 list of bills to watch!
SB 1363 SD2 - Requires businesses to collect a fee for the distribution of single use bags
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
UPDATE: Needs testimony by 3/21 at 11am
3/18/2011HBill scheduled to be heard by EEP/ERB on Tuesday, 03-22-11 10:40AM in House conference room 312.

Also still in the running is SB1059. Check out the Sierra Club's links to contact your representatives and garner support. Help make Hawaii the first state to pass comprehensive plastic bag banning legislation.

PFK featured in March GREEN: Hawai'i's Sustainable Living Magazine

Check us out on page 15, with some supporting words from our good friends at Mu'uMu'u Heaven!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My beach clean-up experience

My name is Milo Osterman and I am 14 years old. I did community outreach hours for my school, Castle High. I cleaned Kailua beach park and the Ahuimanu Stream area. On March 1st I went to Kailua Beach Park where I picked up a bag of trash in two and a half hours. I also did this last December with PFK when there was a much higher tide, and because of the tide, there was a much larger amount of litter. In December, I found a wide variety of trash including cigarettes, pieces of plastic, and other small discarded garbage. Most of that likely washed up from the ocean, but this month there were things left behind by people at the beach such as toy shovels, broken buckets, and Frisbees, and other litter.

Even though there wasn't as much garbage as last time, it is still surprising to me that there is so much plastic among other rubbish being left on the beaches. Anyone reading this should remember that plastic never goes away and be mindful each time you go to the beach as to not leave anything behind.

Spread the word and get involved in your community! Here are some ways you can help the Plastic-Free Kailua coalition: take a reusable shopping bag for all types of shopping, carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying the disposable bottled water, be mindful of plastic packaging, and choose products that use less of it.
WAY TO GO MILO! As always, PFK invites other guest blog authors and young volunteers to get involved in our campaigns and beach clean-ups! Email us anytime!