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HONOLULU (KHON2) - Maui is starting 2019 without styrofoam, as the county just implemented a ban on all styrofoam products in an effort to be environmentally conscious. Starting in July, the Big Island will also ban the products.

There's talks of having it on Oahu as well.

In a 68-page report requested by the Honolulu City Council, city auditors researched the effects and impacts of a polystyrene or styrofoam container ban. Its research concluded it would not be effective in reducing litter. Auditors wrote "much of the litter and debris observed at city parks and beaches would be unaffected by a ban." The research also suggested marine debris would not be reduced by a styrofoam ban.

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Impacts to residents and businesses were also outlined. Getting rid of styrofoam containers likely means higher prices, impacting lower income residents and elderly residents on fixed incomes. Small businesses with 10 employees or less will likely feel the effects of a ban.

At "Asian Mix" on Beretania Street, the owner said though he uses styrofoam containers, he'd support a ban - but acknowledges it may raise food prices.

Over in Kalihi, the manager at "Mexico" restaurant says using other types of takeout containers is more expensive, but not by much.

"I don't think the impact will be that big of a margin. It's all about informing the consumer and restaurant owner to find an alternative," said Christian Cervantes.

He says he's researching different containers to phase out styrofoam.

"I think it's important, we have to take care of the only planet that we have," he said.

The city's research came from multiple interviews with various mom-and-pop restaurants. Though the restaurant wasn't named, the audit spoke of a "locally famous" shop that spends $4,000 a month on containers due to their high volume of customers. The transition from styrofoam would cost at least $10,000 a month - too much for the business to bear.




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