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Private sector encouraged to support third phase of plastic ban

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

MINISTER of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment a nd Climate Change Pearnel Charles Jr is encouraging private sector stakeholders to support the third phase of the national ban on single-use plastics, being implemented in January 2021.

This phase will target single-use plastic bags, with dimensions above 24” x 24” and thickness of 2.5 mils.

A ban will also be placed on single-use drinking straws, made wholly or in part from polyethylene or polypropylene, which are attached to juice boxes or drink pouches.

“We continue to encourage the private sector to view the measures being implemented as an economic opportunity to look at waste as a resource by turning 'trash into cash'; and also to reap the competitive advantages associated with the emergence of the new markets that our challenges with waste create [can potentially provide],” Minister Charles said.

He was speaking during the inaugural Plastic Waste Management Conference, hosted virtually by the National Environment and Planning Agency, on December 2.

Charles said the new opportunities and benefits for both consumers and producers exist within the realities of the ban.

“This is also an opportunity for the private sector to collectively and individually review their operations as well as products and services provided to the domestic market, to ensure that they have no adverse impact on the environment,” he stated.

The minister said the Government was diligent in engaging all stakeholders in the process of advancing policy ban.

These, he said, included: the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Association of Jamaica, and National Consumers League of Jamaica, as well as individual manufacturers, importers, and distributors.

“Although there was some initial hesitation for the first two phases of the ban by the private sector, the [subsequent] response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Minister Charles reported.

He also used the opportunity to encourage consumers to make informed purchases and opt to use eco-friendly products and services.

The Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order, 2018, and the Trade (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order, 2018, were promulgated and gazetted, thereby enforcing the national ban on single-use plastics.

Phase one, which entailed a ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of specific types of single-use plastic carrier bags below a 25-gallon packaging capacity came into effect in January 2019.

Phase two, targeting polystyrene foam, also commonly referred to by the trademarked name Styrofoam ™, and similar material, came into effect on January 1, 2020.

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