As of Wednesday, grocery stores across the entire state of Hawaii are banned from distributing plastic bags, The Huffington Post reports.
The City and County of Honolulu — which covers the entirety of Oahu, Hawaii’s most populated island — is now enforcing a ban that prohibits stores from handing plastic bags to customers at checkout, making Oahu the last populated island in the state to give the bags the boot. Some plastics are exempted, however, including compostable bags and those used within a store for bulk items or those used for medical or sanitary purpose.
With between 500 billion and trillion plastic bags consumed worldwide each year, reducing their use is one way to ensure they no longer ‘sack’ the environment.
Plastic isn’t biodegradable, and the United States is one of the biggest contributors to ocean garbage patches, often described as floating islands of trash. Even if you conscientiously reuse your plastic bags, they likely still end up sitting in a landfill or adding to the 28 billion pounds of plastic already in our ocean, where they may be ingested by or otherwise harm marine animals.
In other words, whether or not you live in an area where plastic bags are already banned, it’s a good idea to opt for a reusable bag. Store reusable grocery bags in the trunk of your car or opt for a lightweight option that can be folded down and attached to your keychain. Hanging a reusable bag by your front door can also help ensure you never leave home without it.
Making small changes in your daily shopping habits can have a big impact on the planet.