Bill 40 is not just a ban on polystyrene and straws, as proponents like to pretend (“It’s Time To Say So Long To Single-Use Plastics,” Nov. 5). Bill 40 is a total ban on all plastic for foods packaged on Oahu.

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Next time you go to the grocery store, take a look around. Please consider the fact that this total ban would not only put local food manufacturers and retailers out of business, it would also cause food shortages throughout Hawaii.

During the 2019 legislative session, the food industry publicly supported a ban on polystyrene as well as a bill prohibiting straws unless expressly requested by the customer.

After Bill 40 was introduced, the food industry worked tirelessly with environmental organizations and council members. It drafted bills that would have created a reasonable ban on polystyrene and straws similar to other jurisdictions throughout the U.S.

Despite the food industry’s efforts, Bill 40 was amended in the 11th hour to ban the vast majority of locally manufactured food products on Oahu.

Many in the local food industry oppose Bill 40, which calls for a phaseout of single-use plastics on Oahu. They argue that a ban will force businesses to close.

This bill is especially cruel because it doesn’t apply to food imported from the mainland. This will inevitably lead to jobs lost in Hawaii, local businesses forced to close their doors, food shortages in grocery aisles, and even an overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions required for stocking store shelves with mainland products.

A bill this extreme has passed exactly zero counties or states in the U.S. Don’t be fooled by the misinformation and confusion campaign.

The food industry supports plastic reduction as passed in other counties, but it cannot support legislation that threatens and disadvantages local food manufacturers and retailers.

The food industry hopes to work with council members and reasonable environmental organizations to pass a balanced approach to plastic reduction without devastating our local food industry.

In Hawaii, we all work together to build a better future; we don’t tear each other down and leave local businesses behind.

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