Getting Nickel and Dimed: Divert Charges to City Services for Our Benefit

Since its implementation, I've heard from a lot of residents that appreciate the City wanting to Go Green but have concerns with the forced additional charge to consumers under implementation of Council Ordinance 17-37. We're literally being nickel and dimed at checkout.

If the emphasis is to Go Green, then it only makes sense that this extra charge be redirected back to the City to provide service implementation for all of our benefit. One idea is diversion to stream clean up island wide. Preventative maintenance is key to reducing the risk to our residents and property. There are many more projects in need of financial resources. If we can't return the fee to the consumer we need to ask ourselves what we can do in return?


Honolulu Star Advertiser: Purchasing a bag only makes stores more green

By Lee Cataluna July 18, 2018 Updated July 18, 2018 12:05am

Maybe you’ve noticed the Australian tourists shopping at Waikele Premium Outlets wheeling their suitcases from store to store and wondered, “What’s up with that?”

OK, so if you haven’t noticed, there are tourists, mostly Australian but some from other places, too, who, during their vacations in Hawaii, take empty suitcases when they go souvenir shopping and just fill them up as they go. What’s up is that it’s convenient, though somewhat awkward. Dad is usually the one steering the luggage from store to store with that weary look on his face. Who shops like that?

But since the across-the-board shopping bag fee hit retailers all up and down the mall, that Australian habit of taking rolling luggage when you go shopping looks pretty genius.

We all knew the 15-cent fee for every shopping bag, paper or plastic, was coming down on July 1, but we were thinking grocery store and drugstore, right? Not clothing boutiques. Not makeup counters. Not the hardware store.

Over the past few weeks, on any given day, there are people walking through the malls carrying the box with their new shoes under one arm, a plaid shirt from Abercrombie and Fitch draped over one shoulder like they stole it, or balancing bottles and brushes from Sephora in their pockets and hands. Yes, many break down and buy the bags, but there’s a feeling of surrender to that.

Who knew that paper boutique bags with cloth or rope handles, the kind that you use over and over again to bring mangoes to your neighbor or bring books to the rummage sale or clothes to Salvation Army, were threatening endangered marine species?

They’re not. But that wasn’t really the point of this law.

The point was for all the City Council members to look like they’re saving the earth, regardless of whether they really are. If the City Council really wanted to take care of nearshore reefs, they would make super-sure the city wastewater treatment plants don’t spill poop water into the ocean every time there’s a big rain.

It can be said that 15 cents a bag is not much to spend to save the aina. But buying a paper bag doesn’t save the aina. Neither does buying heavily packaged merchandise and shoving it all into a cloth bag. Furthermore, it feels like a raw deal to spend $250 on nice school clothes for the kids and then have to shell out another 15 cents to the merchant for a bag to carry the clothes from the store to the car. Yeah, we can suck up the fee, but it’s just another example of politicians sticking it to the average guy and handing the money to businesses. No wonder every store is happy to play along.

Bring your rolling backpack when you go school shopping. Or maybe bring a teacher-style rolling milk crate so store security can see that you’re not stealing stuff. The Aussies knew what they were doing all along.”