Sat | Dec 14, 2019

JET against delaying Styrofoam ban

Published:Monday | November 11, 2019 | 2:32 PM

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is adding its voice to the call for Cabinet to dismiss appeals for the delay of the January 1, 2020 ban on Styrofoam.

A group of local distributors and manufacturers have reportedly written to the government seeking the delay.

The ban blocks the importation of Styrofoam food and beverage containers.

JET says that the scheduled implementation of the ban is a progressive move by the government towards improved solid waste management policy and regulation, which should be adhered to and strongly enforced.

The environment lobby group is also calling for the government to move swiftly in ramping up its public education on the ban to ensure that Jamaicans are prepared for the impending changes.

“Styrofoam poses a particular challenge to solid waste management in Jamaica, it is currently in abundant supply, it is not recyclable, it is not biodegradable, and it typically breaks into small pieces once it is thrown away, making it extremely difficult to clean up when it’s carelessly discarded in our environment,” said JET CEO Suzanne Stanley

“ This ban is long overdue,” she added.

JET says it has already observed several restaurant operators in the Corporate Area take a proactive approach to the impending ban by replacing Styrofoam take-out lunch boxes with the alternative biodegradable options.

JET is also recommending that more Jamaican restaurants and cook shops encourage the use of reusable lunch containers by their customers, which it says will further reduce the amount of garbage produced by their operations.  

Ban On Styrofoam

* The ban will apply to the importation of polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as Styrofoam, used as finished goods in the food and beverage industry i.e food and beverage containers.

* The local manufacture and distribution of polystyrene foam for use as finished goods in the food and beverage industry will be banned as at January 1, 2021.

* The use of polystyrene for the packaging of food items such as raw meats will be exempt.

* Producers of products which utilise such packaging must apply to NEPA for limited exemptions.

* Industry is encouraged to manufacture/distribute paper-based and other environmentally friendly alternatives for the domestic market.

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