Plastic Policy and Ordinance Directory

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County Disposable Plastic Policy

Plastic Bag Ordinance

Disposable Plastics Policy

Disposable Plastic Policy

Due to the finding that disposable plastic is harmful to our environment and contributes to the potential death of marine and avian life Mayor Derek Kawakami has declared that the County shall prohibit the purchase, use, or distribution of disposable plastics with County funds, at County permitted events, by County employees, or by County Facility Users. This shall be done in order to protect public health, reduce litter, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore the County will invest in environmentally preferred alternatives to disposable plastics.

 To view the Policy in its entirety please click here- County Disposable Plastic Policy

Disposable Plastics Policy Definitions

All definitions are included in the Mayor's Policy. 

Below is a summary of key topics covered in the policy.

“County Facility" means any building, structure, or vehicle owned and operated by the County, its agents, agencies, and departments and includes County buildings, structures, parks, recreation facilities, or property.

"Compostable" means materials that are able to undergo biological decomposition or become part of usable compost in a safe and timely manner, either in an appropriate composting program or facility, or in a home compost pile or device. For foodservice containers containing plastics to qualify as compostable, such food service containers must meet ASTM Standard D6400 for Compostable Plastics, or ASTM Standard D6868 for biodegradable plastic film, as amended.

“Disposable Plastic” means Bottled Water, Plastic Bags, Plastic Beverage Straws, Plastic Cutlery, Plastic Food Service Containers, and Plastic Stirrers defined herein.


January 1, 2020 visual of plastics disposal policy

Plastic Bag Ordinance

Plastic Bag Ordinance

In October of 2009, the Kauai County Council adopted a law that requires all retail establishments to provide only recyclable paper bags or reusable bags to their customers effective January 11, 2011. The purpose of the legislation was to reduce the significant impacts of plastic checkout bags on the environment, which include litter, an increasing burden on the landfill, and threats to marine life.

The ordinance encourages customers to bring their own reusable bags while shopping, and does not preclude retailers from offering checkout bags for sale to those customers who do not bring their own bags.

In October and November of 2010, public information meetings were held in order to discuss the legislation and draft rules. If you have questions, please call the County Recycling Office at 241-4841.

Did You Know?

  • First introduced in 1977 as an alternative to paper bags, plastic bags now account for 4 out of every 5 bags handed out at grocery stores.
  • Somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.
  • Solid materials, typically waste, that has found its way into the marine environment is called marine debris. It is known to be the cause of injuries and deaths of numerous marine animals and birds, either because they become entangled in it or they mistake it for prey and eat it.
  • The world's "great garbage patch" can be found floating between Hawaii and San Francisco. This garbage patch is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and contains thousands of pounds of our discarded trash, mostly plastics.
  • Each year the United States consumes 30 billion plastic grocery bags, requiring 12 million barrels of oil.
  • The average American uses 300 to 700 plastic bags per year. If everyone in the United States tied their annual consumption of plastic bags together in a giant chain, the chain would reach around the Earth 760 times!