Hawaii and New Jersey May Enact the Nation's Toughest Bans On Plastic

Ferlon Webster Jr. | March 26, 2019
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Lawmakers in New Jersey and Hawaii are looking to make the lives of their voters a whole lot harder by proposing an extreme statewide ban on plastics and Styrofoam. 

Both of the states ban proposals are making their way through their respective state senates.

While New Jersey’s bill would ban plastic bags, plastic straws, and Styrofoam food and beverage containers, Hawaii’s plan goes a bit further by adding plastic drinking bottles, utensils, stirring sticks, and garbage bags. The tropical state will also ban “nearly all plastic from fast food and full-service restaurants,” according to Fox News

“Plastic is made from fossil fuels, and it’s time for us as a society to move away from our dependence on petroleum and toward clean energy sources,” Hawaii state Sen. Mike Gabbard told Fox News about SB 522.

The measures haven’t escaped the eyes of critics. The plastic bag industry has called out the proposals for going “way too far.”

“We’ve described it as taking a sledgehammer to a mosquito,” Matt Seaholm, director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, told the news outlet.  “Plastic retail bags are the best options at checkout as long as they are disposed of properly.”

The companies argue that lawmakers should focus on re-educating people on recycling and to enforce litter laws that are already in place. 

Acknowledging the extremeness of her state’s bill, New Jersey state Sen. Linda Greenstein stated that nevertheless, the environment was her highest priority.

“It’s extremely controversial, no question. But my starting point is this something that would be good and important for the environment, and I believe it is,” Greenstein said.

The proposals are still a work in progress, so it’ll be some time before the citizens of New Jersey and Hawaii find out whether it’s still legal to have a plastic straw with their milkshake.

H/T: Fox News