The recycled plastic shopping bag program is one of the ways the County of Kauai is continuing to work towards encouraging residents to reduce waste by using shopping bags made from recycled plastic while they shop, in lieu of disposable paper or plastic bags. Overall awareness of the negative environmental impacts of disposable plastic and paper shopping bags and the importance of reducing their use has increased here on Kauai, as well as nationwide.
The County purchased 25,000 shopping bags made of 100% recycled plastic bottles primarily with funds from the HI5 Deposit Beverage Container grant, with a smaller portion funded by County funds. The bags were passed out to Retailers island-wide, who in turn distributed them to customers.
The criteria to receive free bags from the County, required individuals to 1) be a Kauai resident; 2) sign a pledge stating that they would use the bags in place of disposable paper or plastic bags while grocery shopping 3) limit distribution to 2 bags per person, which would involve an "honor system" 4) receive a ½ flyer describing the product they are using and the importance of reducing waste.
Shopping bags were dispersed from December 2009 through June 2010. The Plastic Bag ordinance, which encourages the use of Recycled shopping bags went into effect January 2011.