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The Misinformed, Ineffective War on Styrofoam Heads to Hawaii

Maui on Dec. 31 became the first Hawaiian county—and one of the latest cities and counties across the United States—to ban polystyrene plastic (more commonly known as Styrofoam) food containers.

The purpose of the ban is to reduce pollution and encourage recycling across the island.

Yet, a recent report on the impact of a proposed Styrofoam ban in Oahu, another island to the north of Maui, suggests that a Styrofoam ban is unlikely to reduce litter and increase recycling in any part of Hawaii.

The new Maui ordinance prohibits food vendors or providers—defined as “any entity or person providing prepared food for consumption within the county”—from using single-use Styrofoam containers to package prepared food. Violators of the ordinance are subject to criminal punishment and monetary fines.

Environmentalist groups are thrilled about the new law and claim it will reduce pollution in the Pacific Ocean, as businesses will now serve food in environmentally friendly food containers.

Understandably, Hawaiians have an interest in protecting their environment. The state’s beautiful beaches and landscapes make it a hot spot for tourism—an industry that accounts for approximately 21 percent of the state’s economy.

But according to the Oahu study above, Hawaii does not recycle or compost single-use food containers of any kind, even if the containers are made of recyclable material.

Instead, the Hawaiian Department of Environmental Services collects and burns all single-use food containers once they are discarded.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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