Gov't urged to consider delaying styrofoam ban

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, November 09, 2019

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A group of local distributors and manufacturers has written to the Government urging a push back of the January 1, 2020 scheduled ban on polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as styrofoam.

The ban on the local manufacture and distribution of polystyrene foam for use as finished goods in the food and beverage industry was announced in September 2018 by minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz, as part of an overall crackdown on plastic products.

At that time, Vaz also announced bans on single-use plastic bags (scandal bags) with dimensions at, or below, 24 inches by 24 inches, and plastic straws, effective January 1 of this year.

Despite pushback from some manufacturers and distributors, the ban came into effect as scheduled, with Jamaicans having to make do with paper or reusable bags.

But with the ban on styrofoam mere months away, the push for a delay in the implementation is now on in earnest.

Vaz told the Jamaica Observer Thursday that he has a meeting set for next week with representatives of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association, ministry officials and representatives of several agencies, to discuss the request for a delay.

“It will likely necessitate a Cabinet decision because a clear policy was already decided on by the Cabinet,” said Vaz, as he hinted that he was not in favour of the request.

According to Vaz, several alternatives to styrofoam are already in the local market, but he is keeping an open mind going into the talks.

The alternatives include cardboard boxes, paper bags and reusable shopping/tote bags made from canvas, cotton, nylon, and other durable material.


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