Following Maui and Kauai’s lead, the Big Island on Wednesday became the third county to adopt a ban on merchants giving out plastic bags. That leaves Honolulu as the only Hawaii county without such a ban.

The Hawaii County Council passed Bill 17 5-3, with Council Chair Dominic Yagong abstaining because he has ties to local businesses. Voting in favor of the bill were council members Fred Blas, Brenda Ford, Pete Hoffmann, Brittany Smart and K. Angel Pilago.

Hundreds of Big Island residents provided testimony for and against the controversial bill. Some said the plastic bags were useful and reusable, while others said the bags were a nuisance and more often ended up as trash.

But in the end, the Council decided to move forward with the ban in an effort to protect the environment and encourage recycling.

This bill states: “Businesses shall not provide plastic checkout bags to their customers.” “Cloth or paper” bags are cited as preferable options to plastic bags.

The measure now goes to Mayor Billy Kenoi to sign into law. If the mayor signs, the ordinance would go into effect next year.