On December 9, 2020, the Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ) collaborated with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and Magna Rewards Jamaica Ltd. to launch a Supermarket Plastic Recyclables Drop Off Programme.
The programme was launched by Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Lee’s Food Fair Supermarket in St Andrew, who indicated that the programme aligns with the Government of Jamaica’s agenda to encourage the responsible disposal of single-use plastic packaging material.
“While Jamaica is already making strides to reduce its dependence on single-use plastic through the plastic ban, this initiative seeks to ensure that most of the plastics which we find impossible to avoid purchasing will not enter the waste stream but rather will become a resource.”
Successful Plastic Pilot Recycling Project
The initiative, which has been endorsed by NEPA was piloted under the Agency’s Japan-funded Plastic Waste Minimization Project at Lee’s Food Fair for two months, from October 1 – November 30, 2020. During the period, over 5,000 pounds of plastic was collected at the site. This is 25% more than the 4,000 pounds projected.
Additional drop-off sites being added to the network The Programme, which is intended to make it more convenient for Jamaicans to responsibly dispose of their food grade, personal care and household chemical plastic containers, will entail the establishment of RPJ run plastic collection centres at supermarkets island wide. Lee’s Food Fair will continue to act as a Supermarket drop off site, while in January 2021, Joong Supermarket in St. Catherine and L&M Meats and Grocery in St. Ann will join the network.
Candice Ming, Recycling Partners of Jamaica Public Relations Manager, explained that an inventive-based approach will be used to encourage public participation, while encouraging public-private participation to tackle the nation’s plastic pollution challenge.
“The initiative is supported by Magna Rewards Jamaica Ltd., which will be offering points to individuals who drop off plastics for recycling during the first month of the initiative. While we take the lead on Jamaica’s recycling initiatives, our efforts would be in vain without the support of individuals as well as the private and public sectors. For us to be successful in our fight against plastic we must pull together. I encourage supermarkets and wholesalers to ‘come on board’ on this initiative” Ming said.