A similar proposal died last year in the Senate.

You may no longer have the small plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner lined up on your sink the next time you stay in a Hawaii hotel. 

University of Hawaii Student Stories project badge

House Bill 85  proposes to rid the state of these tiny toiletry items and either put their contents them in a bulk container or in other holders not made of plastic.

Lawmakers attempted to ban those plastic bottles last year, but that proposal died in the Senate without a hearing.

“Part of the reason is that some legislators are very anti-plastic ban,” Rep. Natalia Hussey-Burdick, one of HB 85’s sponsors, said.

The bill’s preamble says that that the “throwaway culture” of using these single-use plastics highlight convenience over sustainability.

The bill cites a report from the environmental group Beyond Plastics that says the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the plastics industry is set to overtake that produced by coal-powered plants in the U.S. by 2030.

Visitors to Oahu’s Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head in the background.
Lawmakers are again trying to ban small toiletry bottles at hotels. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2018)

The bill states that providing plastic toiletries does not align with Hawaii Tourism Authority’s strategic plan, which encourages sustainable tourism and seeks to minimize the negative environmental impacts from tourism.

Some lodging establishments have already transitioned away from these containers. The legislature also found that other states, California and New York have already passed laws to phase out small plastic bottles.

The Plastics Industry Association opposes the bans. It wrote in its testimony on HB 85 that it opposes the bill, because plastic“can do things other materials cannot.” The association instead advocates for consumers to be educated about how to properly dispose of these plastic products instead of just eliminating them. 

Hussey-Burdick thinks eliminating disposable plastics is inevitable.

“Taken individually, none of these bills are going to eliminate the plastic problem,” she said. “It’s just different ways of kind of chipping away at the problem.”

  • Stories By University Of Hawaii Students

Help Power Local, Nonprofit News.

Across the nation and in Hawaii, news organizations are downsizing and closing their doors due to the ever-rising costs of keeping local journalism alive and well.

While Civil Beat has grown year over year, still only 1% of our readers are donors, and we need your help now more than ever.

Make a gift today of any amount, and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,500, thanks to a generous group of Civil Beat donors.

About the Author