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Pack Water Bottles For Hawaii: Plastic May Soon Be Gone

Hawaii visitors may soon no longer be heading to the store for those familiar cases of plastic-bottled water. That comes as the Hawaii state legislature  advances a bill to ban single-use plastic water bottles starting January 1, 2024.

Effective 1/1/2024 prohibits the retail sale of single-use plastic bottles designed to hold less than two liters of bottled water for oral consumption, with certain exceptions. — HB 87 HD1

On the heels of the plastics-caused death of a whale on Kauai.

The new bill addresses concerns about plastic in the ocean, which is of paramount importance to our island-state Hawaii. It also comes just following the whale that died on Kauai, which was reported internationally to have had vast amounts of plastic nets, traps, and other debris in its stomach.

While numerous legislators spoke in favor of the bill recently, the International Association of Bottled water spoke in opposition.

Reality: anything except reusable is environmentally harmful.

The bill, in part, acknowledges that beverage recycling is not a reality, and even when it was, the problems are so significant as to make the process ineffective.

The International Association of Bottled Water is one of several organizations opposed to the bill. They argued that the plastic used in recyclable water bottles, polyethylene terephthalate, results in less greenhouse gas emissions than aluminum and glass throughout their life cycles. There’s at least some truth to that.

Controversy about water costs, recycling, safety, environmental impact, and more.

Not long ago, Jason Momoa was in the news hyping his Mananalu Pure Water. That’s the Hawaii-themed mainland water that comes in aluminum cans instead of plastic containers. That environmentally deleterious water costs nearly four times more than plastic bottled water at about 15 cents an ounce. Plastic bottled water can be under 4 cents an ounce but without the allure.

The “Aquaman” star touted the elimination of single-use plastic. He also appeared on a flight, acting as a serving flight attendant on Hawaiian Airlines to promote the airline’s use of Mananalu on mainland flights. Momoa said, “I’m tired of these plastic bottles, we’ve got to stop. Here’s to new beginnings, let’s spread the aloha.”

Ineffective recycling; sustainable reuse.

Recycling is acknowledged to be the least effective form of beverage container waste reduction.

Remember that aluminum cans end up in refuse and when they are made and recycled, they consume vast amounts of energy. The UK’s Carbon Trust said, “The aluminum industry can play on the fact that its product is infinitely recyclable, and they’re right. But primary aluminum uses huge amounts of electricity, and it’s also got some chemical releases of greenhouse gas emissions.” “A 330 ml [aluminum] can is responsible for 1,300 grams of carbon dioxide emissions… A plastic bottle of the same size… accounts for up to 330 grams,” said Reuters.

The question is when rather than if this will be implemented.

The bill has already seen widespread approval from legislators. When it was brought before the body last year, it didn’t appear to have the same degree of support and died early in committee. One legislator who voted against it this time, however, said he reasoned that the effective date should be in three years rather than in less than one year.

The bill will snake its way through the legislative process before possibly arriving for a full house and senate vote.

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25 thoughts on “Pack Water Bottles For Hawaii: Plastic May Soon Be Gone”

  1. Implementation of this new Law shouldn’t occur prior to 2027 in order to give me 1 more visit before this begins. I, for 1, remember that taste of drinking water from aluminum cans, it really Sucks, and Hawaiians are in for a real treat. I feel like we are Revisiting dumb, failed, ideas from the past. Putting a large refund on each plastic bottle could work well, until the money disappears! Hawaiian Politicians jump towards any idea, good or bad, that justifies their paycheck and make themselves seem attentive to concerns.

    1. I actually like a nice cold drink from an aluminum can but think that aluminum is problematic for the environment too. Alaska airlines now serves water in recyclable cardboard containers that make sense for the environment and easy to use and dispose of for the consumer. We need to think about the World that we’re leaving our grandchildren. Mahalo!

  2. There’s one other good size issue. Waste Management has said, they are having a very hard time recycling plastic bottles. They don’t think it’s doable.

  3. Why would you have this headline? Why would you encourage more plastic to come here when we can’t deal with what we have encourage Hydro flasks and other metal reusable bottles for guests and residents!

  4. I lived on Maui most of my life. After Costco came it would pain me to see all those tourists leaving with so many cases of water. Only to be thrown away (HI 5 – ha) this has been a long time coming. Lets all use containers we can wash and reuse.

  5. Yes! We need to act Now, not 3 years from now, on stopping the sale of single use plastic. It would be great if the they included stopping the sale of the small liquor bottles as well. I frequently pick up garbage on my walks and these are thrown out the windows of cars and are everywhere!

  6. Why not today? The excessive use of plastic is such an enormous problem between plastic bottles and Keurig pods. When I travel to Hawaii, or anywhere, I bring my Hydroflask. I just refill it and add a couple ice cubes and have cold water all day. How difficult is that? That bottle will last me a lifetime. Saves me a ton of money long term.

    1. Do you have access in your area to a water refill vending machine? Or water delivery service? You could get your water there or have it delivered and use a glass. Please look at the bigger picture of all of the single use bottle waste. The plastic companies produce way more plastic than what can be recycled. Also, drinking out of plastic regularly is not good for you as plastic leaches chemicals into the water you are drinking.

  7. Not having single serve water bottles sold in Hawaii would help reduce recycling tremendously.
    On Kauai, the water tastes terrific right out of the tap.
    Good move if they follow thru on banning single use water bottles!

  8. Missouri resident here, what a great move!!! Don’t stop there, the large beverage producers could easily switch back to glass containers. For those of us growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, most of our beverages were bottled in glass containers. Plastic was a cheap and convenient replacement, however 50 years later, it was certainly the wrong decision.

    1. There are several reasons the industry moved away from reusable glass bottles. The first is that after the sale to the consumer, no one knows what the consumer used the bottle for, and if a wash is sufficient to clean it. The second is that the bottle needed to be made of heavier duty glass, and all that heavy glass needed to be transported, and it was energy intensive. The third is that lighter containers allowed longer transport and consolidating bottling plants for greater efficiency.

  9. There was no plastic bottles when I grew up !! The world was a better place then. Glass bottles are the best!use them again and again.

  10. This is all complicated. It takes 71,000 uses for a cloth grocery bag to offset its environmental cost (two decades of daily use!) Soda can recycling uses more energy than the newest soda can technology – especially when you add in the transportation costs of recycling (soda companies kept that secret in order to avoid any laws prohibiting cans.) Oceans and sea life have been and are being destroyed at massive scale by fishing fleets – yet we restrict individual consumers since they are the easy targets with no lobbyists to bribe politicians on their behalf. So, yes, I want a clean environment – I just dislike that the worst offenders are ignored because they are wealthy – and we pay the costs instead.

  11. Agree all the plastic is an issue. When I was a child, and that was a while ago, everything was in glass and we paid a deposit. The deposit was refunded when the bottle was returned. If you replaced the milk, soft drinks, etc, no deposit was needed, it was an exchange. Didn’t read in the article about glass use except it takes more energy to make. Maybe going back to an “old” system could work.

  12. Banning plastic water bottles, just like plastic bags and straws isn’t the issue. The real problem is the commercial fishing industry. There are numerous articles and statistics that show that is the biggest problem but the lobbyists and industry have too much money and clout. Politicians pander to them and the result is rising costs to consumers in the form of paying for reusable bags at the store, paying for paper bags, or using paper straws that disintegrate in the beverage. We need to change the fishing industry. All the plastic trash in the ocean are discarded nets.

    1. Great news! Sooner the Bettah! Please spread the Aloha everywhere. It would be nice to see everyone use more water filtration systems, personal reusable bottles (non plastic), and perhaps refill stations, throughout the country! As a paddler I even see bottles in small lakes and rivers and regardless causes pollution!

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