Gov’t to make announcement on third phase of plastic ban

Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Pearnel Charles Jr, has made an announcement in regards to the third phase of the Government’s ban on single-use plastic, which takes effect in January 2021.

This phase will incorporate single-use plastic bags with dimensions above 24 x 24 inches and thickness of 2.5 mils.

“A ban will also be placed on single-use drinking straws made wholly or in part of polyethylene or polypropylene, attached to juice boxes or drink pouches,” the minister said.

He was speaking on the first day of the inaugural three-day plastic waste management conference held virtually yesterday.

Phase one of the ban, which took effect in January 2019, was on the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of specific types of single-use plastic carriers below 25-gallon capacity packaging, while the second phase, which was effected in January of this year, was on polystyrene foam.

Charles Jr said that despite some initial hesitation, the response from the business sector to the ban “has been overwhelmingly positive”, noting that there is a private-sector-led deposit refund scheme, which will provide a cash refund to consumers who return their plastic bottles.

The initiative, to be implemented by Recycling Partners Jamaica Limited, is intended to reduce littering and encourage recycling.

Charles Jr encouraged the private sector to use the ban as an economic opportunity to turn ‘trash into cash’ and to review their operations, as well as the products and services provided to the domestic market, in order to ensure that they are more environmentally friendly.

He also urged consumers to make informed purchases about the products and services that they buy.

“The new opportunities and benefits for both consumers and producers are many, and in the long run, it is Jamaica and Jamaicans who will benefit,” the minister noted.

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