Feature
Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (centre), participating in the recent launch of the National Supermarket Plastic Recyclables drop off centre initiative, with representatives of Recycling Partners of Jamaica, Magna Rewards, and Lee’s Food Fair.
Photo: contributed

Story Highlights

  • Local supermarkets have joined the fight against poor plastic waste management by partnering with the Government through the ‘Supermarket Plastic Recycling Scheme’.
  • These are among the most popular establishments where consumers purchase products packaged in single-use plastics, which are often improperly discarded in the environment.
  • The initiative, led by Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ), aims to provide Jamaicans with convenient options for the sustainable disposal of PET/PETE and HDPE plastic waste.

Local supermarkets have joined the fight against poor plastic waste management by partnering with the Government through the ‘Supermarket Plastic Recycling Scheme’.

These are among the most popular establishments where consumers purchase products packaged in single-use plastics, which are often improperly discarded in the environment.

The initiative, led by Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ), aims to provide Jamaicans with convenient options for the sustainable disposal of PET/PETE and HDPE plastic waste.

The programme entails the establishment of drop off points at high traffic supermarkets and wholesales across the country for recyclable plastic items.

In January 2021, Joong Supermarket in Portmore, St. Catherine, and L&M Meats and Grocery in Runaway Bay, St. Ann will become the second and third designated sites respectively under the programme, with additional outlets come on board thereafter.

Director of Environmental Management and Conservation at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Anthony McKenzie, tells JIS News that the project was piloted at Lee’s Food Fair from October 1 to November 30, 2020, which resulted in the collection of over 5,000 pounds of plastics.

He explains that the project, which is endorsed by NEPA, is intended to strengthen Jamaica’s capacity to implement integrated waste management activities and reduce and manage plastic marine litter.

“The initiative is also supported by Magna Rewards, which will incentivize persons who drop off PET/PETE and HDPE plastics weighing 10 pounds or more for recycling at each location for the first month of the programme.” Mr. McKenzie further informs.

He points out that plastics comprise a significant proportion of the waste generated across the island, adding that the initiative is an effective way of controlling this.

“According to a document produced by NEPA, on the ‘17th Meeting of the United Nations Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea’, plastics represent the third highest category of waste at the island’s disposal facilities,” Mr. McKenzie shares.

He indicates that the ‘Supermarket Plastic Recycling Scheme’ is one of the co-led Government initiatives designed to minimize plastic waste.
“The Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) for PET bottles is another initiative which will be implemented through Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ),” he further informs.

Purchasers and consumers of products in PET bottles (for example water, juices, and sodas) will pay a surcharge or deposit which will be refunded to them when they return the product or its container to an approved centre for recycling and proper disposal.

Speaking during the inaugural Plastic Waste Management Conference recently, Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., noted that the introduction of a DRS is consistent with the long-term National Development Plan – Vision 2030 Jamaica.

“As the nation prepares for the introduction of phase three of the ban on single-use plastics, come January 1, 2021, the Ministry is encouraging everyone to reduce, reuse recycle, and refuse plastics,” Minister Charles said.

Mr. McKenzie says NEPA encourages persons to participate in the ‘Supermarket Plastic Recycling Scheme’.
“We continue to encourage citizens to view the plastic minimization initiatives being implemented as an opportunity for them to actively care for the environment,” he states.

Meanwhile, RPJ General Manager, Nalini Sooklal, tells JIS News that the entity collects a significant amount of plastics at its 180 sites islandwide, including schools.

 

“We believe that building a network of collection centres and drop-off points across the country is an important first step in creating a plastic recycling culture in Jamaica.” Ms. Sookal explains.
She invites persons seeking further information on where to recycle PET and HDPE plastics, to visit the RPJ’s social media pages @recycleja.

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