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Gov’t looking to improve plastic bottle-recycling scheme

Published:Saturday | December 3, 2022 | 12:09 AM

The Government is taking steps to improve its deposit refund scheme for plastic bottles over the next year, according to Matthew Samuda, minister with responsibility for water, the environment and climate change.

He said that the government will be working with all stakeholders, including Recycling Partners Jamaica Limited, on improving and upsizing the implementation of the deposit refund scheme.

In his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Upper House on Friday, Samuda said that the move by the government will be supported by legislation.

“It will no longer be an example of corporate social responsibility, but rather an act of compliance,” he said.

The minister also warned that the government will be addressing microplastics in personalcare products and plastic lunch box containers, which have replaced the banned styrofoam containers.

Samuda said he will make a detailed statement on the way forward with plastics early in the new year.

Over the last few years, Jamaica has implemented a ban on specific types of single-use plastics. The country has banned the import, manufacture, distribution and use of plastic bags of a specific dimension, polystyrene foam products used in the food and beverage industry, and plastic drinking straws.

The ban was imposed to reduce non-recyclable, non-biodegradable, carcinogenic waste from entering the waste stream.

However, Samuda observed that in recent times, there there have been cases of people flouting the ban. He said that 60 businesses have been successfully prosecuted for contravening the ban.