A huge congratulations to the Big Island of Hawaii for joining the islands of Maui and Kauai and banning the use of plastic shopping bags. The bill won't take effect until next year and gives businesses and additional year to adjust to using paper bags.
Plastic shopping bags are a complicated issue. One one hand, they're much lighter than paper bags and can be transported using much less fuel per bag. On the other hand they don't ever biodegrade (well, they do, it just takes hundreds of years) and they litter landscapes and waterways all over the planet. In the long term, plastic bags are a disaster.
Hawaii already has to deal with plastic trash from the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch washing up on its beaches, so it's good to know that it won't be too long before residents can stop worrying about the additional pollution created by plastic shopping bags.