Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. is encouraging citizens to support businesses that have retrofitted their operations to be compliant with the government ban on single-use plastics.
“I am encouraging citizens to be conscientious in their purchase of goods and services; seek out businesses that are environmentally friendly and using material derived from renewable sources in their production. This can only redound to the benefit of us all,” Minister Charles Jr. told JIS News.
The national ban on single-use plastics was implemented on January 1, 2019, with several phases.
Phase one of the ban 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 2020, was on polystyrene foam.
The third phase, implemented on January 1, 2021, relates to the importation, distribution, manufacture and use of single-use plastic bags of dimension not exceeding 24”x 24” and thickness of 2.5 mils as well as straws attached to or forming part of the packaging of juice boxes and drink pouches.
Minister Charles Jr. pointed out that “several private-sector stakeholders have managed to modify their operations to be compliant with more environmentally sustainable practices as well as the measures instituted to regulate specific types of single-use plastics, and the Government commends these entities”.
He noted that the Government has granted a grace period of nine months (from an initial six months) for stakeholders to become compliant with the third phase of the ban.
“We are aware of the challenges experienced by some stakeholders in accessing a constant supply of plastic alternatives, due primarily to disruptions in the global logistics supply chain because of the ongoing pandemic. The Government has responded by granting an additional three months, from July 1 to September 30, for entities to become compliant,” he said.
Minister Charles Jr. reminded consumers that they play a powerful role in the reduction of plastic pollution through their purchasing and disposal habits.
“Businesses listen to their customers both internal and external so as a consumer you have the power to evoke change, a positive change for our environment. Remember the 4Rs of the plastic ban – refuse, reuse, reduce, recycle,” he said.