The ubiquitous plate lunch has found a home in large polystyrene (known commercially as Styrofoam) containers since the dawn of time (or perhaps a bit later). But for those of you who largely subsist on large quantities of chicken katsu and loco moco, be warned that we may be living in the final days of the Great Styrofoam Era on Maui. On Monday, July 28, the Maui County Council’s Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee will take up a new bill–introduced by Councilman Mike Victorino–that would prohibit county establishments from placing their fare in polystyrene containers.
“When ingested, polystyrene may become lethal to our marine animals and birds,” said committee chairwoman Elle Cochran in a July 24 news release. “It is not biodegradable and can exist in our landfills for hundreds of years. These widely recognized environmental impacts show good cause for consideration of a countywide ban. It is our duty as council members to implement policies that will protect and preserve our natural resources.”
There would be exceptions to the ban. For instance, the news release notes that the proposed ban would not affect “prepared foods packaged outside the county and polystyrene foam coolers and ice chests specifically designed for multiple re-use.” What’s more, any restaurant will able to ask for a one-year exception, assuming they can ” show that no reasonable alternative to polystyrene containers is available or if compliance with the ban would cause significant economic hardship,” states the news release.
Given that the Maui County Council has already previously prohibited merchants from packaging their wares in plastic bags (2011), people drinking on certain South Maui beaches (2012) and smoking on all county beaches (this year), it would appear this bill has a more than decent chance of passing.
You can read more about the bill by clicking here.
Photo: Infrogmation/Wikimedia Commons
About Anthony Pignataro
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He started work as MauiTime's Editor in 2003, took a couple years off starting in 2008, then returned to the staff in 2011. He's the author of "Stealing Cars With The Pros," a 2013 collection of his journalism and the Maui novels "Small Island" (2011) and "The Dead Season" (2012)–all of which were published by Event Horizon Press. In 2014, his one-act play "War Stories" won second place in the Maui Fringe Festival.