Tue | Oct 22, 2019

Chillin' on the Farm sets example in environmental awareness - Promoter encourages use of reusable party cups and composting

Published:Saturday | October 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Effective January 1, 2019, there will be a ban on some single-use plastic products and Styrofoam.

With the Government's announcement of a ban on single-use plastic such as straws and styrofoam, many event professionals are taking on the challenge to develop more environmentally friendly setting for their parties.

Local parties create a large amount of waste, especially those that include food and drink as part of its package. The first to announce its no-plastic and styrofoam use is the eight-year-old staple held at Murray's Jerk and Fish Hut in Clarendon - Wright Image's Chillin' on the Farm.

Speaking to The Gleaner, one of the party's promoters, PJ Wright, says that the intention is to use Chillin' on the Farm to sensitise the patrons to the imminent change that will have to take place.

"It is a change for the better - for all of us as Jamaicans. Events are a great medium to get the message out, and for persons to gradually experience the change," Wright said.

Throughout its staging, the promoters have provided souvenir multi-use acrylic cups to patrons, along with its sponsor Appleton Estate.

"This is a socially responsible move for us - it will take some time, but I would much prefer for persons to walk with their favourite party cup rather than use several disposable plastic cups, we have to protect our environment," he said.


Improved utensils


Wright expressed that before the use of foam, paper cups with the paper handle were popular utensils, and now there are improved versions that are insulated, heat resistant and are compostable, which the event will be utilising as it goes green this Sunday, October 28.

He does not believe that the cost for biodegradable items will affect the pricing of tickets in the future. Instead he said, "The price of biodegradable items will eventually become more competitive and help with keeping the cost down."

Meanwhile, William Mahfood, chairman of the Wisynco Group, Jamaica's largest producer of styrofoam and plastic, told The Gleaner that the question is not whether the use of plastic and styrofoam is adding to the waste, but if imposing the ban will address the main issue of waste disposal.

"The ban is not going to fix the problem that we have. A much bigger problem is general garbage collection and solid waste management. So similarly, if you have promoters who decide to go green yet don't put away whatever material is used, may it be paper or fibre material paper, the problem still exists," Mahfood said.

He says that once the promoters recognise the importance of proper waste disposal, everything else will fall into place. He applauded the efforts of the promoters, stating, "It is a great initiative, but generally, much attention needs to be given to waste disposal, recycling on a whole, and what is being done with the garbage, such as composting."

He continued, "We are committed to the national recycling programme, and those kind of initiatives, the whole education campaign like Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica, which Wisynco is a part of for the main reason of awareness building."

PJ Wright said that the team at Murray Family Farms is very aware of the environmental issues, and has already developed proper mediums for disposal.

"The farm, which is connected to the main venue, has composting heaps where the paper and food items will be placed, in addition to drums that are labelled for food, plastic bottles (if any) to be collected for the Wisynco Challenge," Wright said.