This month's move by Honolulu County bans non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout, along with paper bags that aren't at least 40% recycled, reports MSNBC.com. Kauai and Maui counties already enforce bans, while Hawaii County's ban takes effect Jan. 17, 2013.
Honolulu's restrictions passed after a two-year campaign by the Sierra Club, an environmental group, and come as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography reports that the amount of plastic debris in an area of the Pacific Ocean known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" has grown a hundredfold over the past four decades.
Last month, meanwhile, SeaWorld announced it will eliminate plastic shopping bags at its 10 theme parks within the next year. An estimated 1.4 billion tons of trash, including plastic bags, enters the ocean each year. Marine animals such as sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, one of their favorite foods.