First it was Maui, then Kauai, and now the Hawaii Island plans to ban plastic bags from its island. Set to begin Jan. 17, 2014, all grocery stores, restaurants and retailers on the Hawaii Island will be mostly plastic-free.

That leaves Oahu as the only island in the state without such a ban…for now. A ban will go into effect in 2015. Plastic bags will still be allowed for bulk items, like fresh produce, grains, meats and nuts.

As a way to ween consumers off of plastic bags, Hawaii Island businesses charged a small fee for plastic during the past year. This was a great way for customers to get used to using alternatives when carrying their groceries, such as reusable bags and paper bags.

While I still have the “luxury” of having plastic bags back home on Oahu, I have also got a chance to experience the non-plastic-bag lifestyle while on neighboring islands. It does take a bit of getting used to but definitely worth the change! Consumers and businesses understand that this is a good thing for the environment, so why not do what we can to preserve it?

If you’re traveling to one of the Hawaiian Islands with a ban on plastic bags, then be prepared by packing a few reusable bags or just buy a few cheap ones from the grocery stores. They’re also great for lugging around all the beach or hiking gear.

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