Marine Debris Solutions Bills

2018 Hawaii State Legislature bills (updated 21st Feb. 2018):

Polystyrene Foam Container Ban -
Prohibits the sale and use of polystyrene foam containers statewide. This bill passed the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee on 1st Feb. 2018 and has been referred to the Consumer, Consumer Protection and Health Committee where they will make a decision on Monday 26th February 2018, 10am, conference room 229. To help this bill pass, please send your testimony here in strong support. For help on how to do testimony or register on the legislature website, see instructions below.

Plastic Straws Ban - SB2285 SD1
Prohibits the distribution and sale of plastic straws. Establishes a fine and requires individual and business violators to pick up litter or perform community service. The bill passed the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee on 31st January, 2018 and was amended to a SD! (Senate Draft 1) by changing the effective date of the law to 1/1/2019. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee. To help this bill pass, please email committee chair: Senator Brian Taniguchi: and Senator Donovan Dela Cruz: and ask them to please schedule this bill for a hearing and pass it out of committee.

Marine Debris Removal - HB2625
Requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to remove plastic marine debris from shores and beaches and for the counties to dispose of plastic marine debris collected by the department. Appropriates funds to hire people for the job. This bill passed 2 House committees on 6th February, 2018: Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee and the Water and Land Committee. The Energy and Environmental Protection Committee heard the bill on Tuesday 13th February, 2018.

The decision on this bill was made on Thursday 15th February and unfortunately it was gutted out. The committee passed the bill but with a lot of amendments. They made it into a working group situation and giving money to the DLNR for work they already do - in the water clean-up (not on beaches). There is nothing at all in the bill holding the working group accountable - they don't have to accomplish anything by a certain time nor is there anything requiring them to report back to the legislature. In other words - this bill looks dead.

2018 Honolulu City Council bills (updated 10th Feb. 2018):

Polystyrene Foam Container Ban - Bill 71 (2017)
This is an excellent bill introduced by Councilmember Pine in 2017. This bill passed first reading by the full council on 6th Sept. 2017 and then was heard by the Chair of the Public Works and Sustainability Committee, Carol Fukunaga on 15th Nov. 2017 where she didn't hold a vote. Please contact Councilmember Fukunaga on ph: 768 5006 or email: and please ask to to put this bill on the agenda and ask for a vote on it.

Polystyrene Foam Container Ban - Bill 4 (2018)
This bill was introduced by Councilmember Pine in 2018. This bill passed first reading by the full council on 31st Jan. 2018 and even though the focus of this bill is Health (whereas Bill 71 is environment), the Chair of the Council, Ron Menor referred this bill to 2 committees (every other time for plastic reduction bills, it has been only 1 committee referral). The 2 committees are Public Works and Sustainability Committee and the Public Health, Safety and Economic Development Committee. So again, this bill is ending up in Carol Fukunaga's committee. Please contact Council Chair Ron Menor on ph: 768 5009 or email: and ask him to please refer this bill to 1 committee only - Public Health.

How to submit testimony for State bills:
1. Register for an account (it's easy!) at (register is found at top right side of the page)
2. Click orange button "Submit Testimony" on the front page or go to the bill page and click bar at top that has "submit testimony"
3. Enter the bill number eg. HB2625 and press "get hearing"
4. Fill in the form with your information and testimony (see screenshot below)
ONLY put organization if you are the person who is writing on behalf of that organization in your capacity as a director/executive officer/board member etc. of that organization
5. when you write your testimony, say where you live (what island/what area) and why you support the bill. It doesn't have to be long what you write. Tell the committee that you strongly support the bill and ask them to pass it.

Screen shot:


If you are submitting a file with your testimony here's what to include:
Letterhead (if writing from an organization)
Your name, address, phone contact information
Bill number, position: Support
Address it to the chair and committee hearing the bill
Include the date and time of the hearing

Aloha Chair ________, Vice-Chair ________ and Members of the _____ Committee,

My name is _______________ and I am a resident of _______________. I am writing in strong support of ___ (bill number) to_________________________________________________ (what the bill does eg. ban straws).

Write about why you think it is important to support this bill.

Finish off with thank you for allowing me to provide written testimony in support of this bill and ask them to please pass the bill.

Your name.

Coral Photograph Credit to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce and Dr. James P. McVey. Dolphins, Japanese Angelfish, Green turtle, and Laysan Albatross photos by James Watt. Humpback whale photo by James Mobeley

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