S.B. NO.














relating to environmental protection.





SECTION 1. The legislature finds that plastic degrades into smaller pieces of plastic, called microplastic. This results in pollution that is not only a public nuisance, but also an environmental and health hazard. Once in the environment, microplastics can absorb toxic chemicals, including flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls. Microplastics that have absorbed toxic chemicals are often ingested by marine organisms and transferred to fish tissue during digestion, leading to bioaccumulation that results in liver damage.

The legislature further finds that microbeads are a type of microplastic. Barely visible without a microscope, microbeads are gentle scrubbers that are added to numerous personal care products, including shampoos, soaps, and toothpastes. Consumers using products containing microbeads are washing down the drain what many once thought was harmless consumer waste. However, research has indicated that wastewater treatment plants are unable to filter out microbeads and as a result, microbeads pass through sewage systems and eventually enter into waterways where the microbeads can absorb toxic chemicals. These toxic microbeads are then consumed by marine life and passed along the aquatic food chain. Once microbeads enter the marine environment, microbeads are impossible to remove and are a significant source of environmental degradation. Microbeads have been found on surface waters in the United States, as well as in fish, marine mammals, reptiles, and in the digestive and circulatory systems of mussels and worms. However, there are several biodegradable, natural alternatives to synthetic plastic microbeads including beeswax, shells, nuts, seeds, and sand.

The purpose of this Act is to reduce the State's production of waste and its negative impact on the environment by prohibiting the sale of personal care products that contain microbeads and decreasing the accumulation of marine microplastics.

SECTION 2. Chapter 328, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:


328-A Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:

"Biodegradable" means capable of breaking down completely into elements or compounds commonly found in the natural environment through a biological process of decomposition.

"Natural exfoliant" means a substance occurring in and generated by the natural environment and includes but is not limited to walnut shells, apricot hulls, sand, clay, and beeswax.

"Personal care product" means any article intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, and any article intended for use as a component of any such article, including but not limited to hand and body soaps, exfoliates, shampoos, toothpastes, and scrubs.

"Plastic" means a synthetic material made from linking monomers through a chemical reaction to create an organic polymer chain that can be molded or extruded at high heat into various solid forms retaining their defined shapes during life cycle and after disposal.

"Synthetic plastic microbead" means any intentionally added non-biodegradable solid plastic particle measuring five millimeters or less.

328-B Prohibition on sale of personal care products containing synthetic plastic microbeads; exemptions. Beginning on January 1, 2016, no person shall offer for sale or offer for promotional purposes a personal care product that contains synthetic plastic microbeads. This section shall not apply to natural exfoliants, personal care products that contain only biodegradable synthetic plastic microbeads, or personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads that are less than one part per million by weight.

328-C Plastic pollution special fund; established. There is established in the state treasury the plastic pollution special fund to be administered by the department of health. The revenues of the special fund shall consist of appropriations made by the legislature, grants, gifts, moneys collected from the fines assessed under section 328-D, and interest on the moneys deposited in the special fund. The special fund shall be used to reduce plastic pollution.

328-D Penalties. (a) In addition to any other penalties provided by law, any person who violates section 328-B shall be fined not more than $2,500 per day for each violation, and the sum shall be collected in a civil action brought by the attorney general, a county prosecuting attorney, or a person representing the public interest. A civil action brought by a person representing the public interest may be initiated only if thirty days have elapsed since the date that the person gives notice of an alleged violation of section 328-B to the attorney general or the county prosecuting attorney and the alleged violator and if a separate civil action against the violator has not commenced.

(b) In determining the amount of a civil penalty, the court shall consider the following:

(1) Severity of the violation;

(2) Economic impact of the penalty on the violator;

(3) Any good-faith efforts to comply with the applicable requirements;

(4) Deterrent effect on the violator and the regulated community; and

(5) Any other factors the court deems appropriate.

(c) The court, in its discretion, may award the prevailing party reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

(d) Civil penalties owed under this part shall be paid as follows:

(1) 50 per cent of moneys collected under this section shall be deposited in the plastic pollution special fund established pursuant to section 328-C; and

(2) 50 per cent of moneys collected under this section shall be deposited in the general fund."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2015.














Report Title:

Environment; Environmental Protection; Health; Synthetic Plastic Microbeads; Prohibition; Personal Care Products; Plastic Pollution Special Fund; General Fund



Beginning on January 1, 2016, prohibits the sale of personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads, excluding personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads that are less than one part per million by weight, natural exfoliants, and personal care products that contain only biodegradable synthetic plastic microbeads. Establishes the plastic pollution special fund and requires violators to pay a fine that is deposited into the general fund and the plastic pollution special fund.




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.