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Islands can be leader of environment revolution

I have been highly concerned about single-use products used everywhere in Hawaii and believe that more reusable products should replace them.

The ban of the use and sale of polystyrene in 2018, and another ban of plastic disposable food ware effective on Jan. 1, are great news for the isolated islands. However, those bans are not the fundamental solution to make the islands sustainable, because single-use paper products will replace. Although paper products are less harmful to marine life, they require cutting down many trees, along with the energy and water used to produce, transport and dispose.

This month, HuiZero launched Maui’s first zero-waste to-go container program. Customers pay a $10 deposit for a reusable stainless tin to go, and they can return it at any participating restaurants that can wash and sanitize it.

In some countries, it is already a common way, even at big events from decades ago. I hope that happens also on these small islands for the next generations.

Education always plays a big role to change people’s way of thinking. I suggest that public schools change eliminate single-use products with the support of the government, which will decrease the great amount of garbage and change the “social norm” on single-use products.

I believe that these unique and beautiful islands can be a leader of the environmental revolution of the USA.

Naoko Ban

Wailuku

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