Mon | Oct 25, 2021

Businesses must use grace period to become compliant for third phase of plastic ban

Published:Wednesday | February 24, 2021 | 3:15 PM

Business operators are being reminded to make all the necessary provisions during the transitionary six-month grace period to become compliant before the third phase of the plastic ban is fully implemented.

“The Government decided to allow a six-month transition period before fully effecting enforcement of the third phase of the plastic ban. We want to remind businesses of this, as they should be making all the necessary adjustments to be compliant when this period ends and the ban takes effect,” Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Pearnel Charles Jr said.

On January 1, 2019, the Government commenced the first of three phases of the ban on select categories of single-use plastics.

The ban was enacted by two Ministerial Orders promulgated under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act and the Trade Act.

Under phase three of the ban, the import, manufacture, distribution and use, in commercial quantities, of single-use plastic bags of dimensions not exceeding 24”x24” (610mm X 610mm), and thickness of 2.5 mils (0.06mm), as well as straws attached to or forming part of the packaging of juice boxes and drink pouches are banned.

Charles Jr noted that the decision to provide a grace period was made based on requests by some members of the private sector and because the Government is cognisant of the challenges that manufacturers have faced, considering the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Within this period, it is expected that the private sector will deplete/replace all affected products currently circulated in the trade and ensure that their production processes are retrofitted, as appropriate, to facilitate compliance with the provisions of the ban,” he said.

He explained that during this time, the public sector will ramp up its public education and awareness activities to garner compliance across sectors.

“The Government intends to institute prosecutions in the parish courts for all persons found in breach of the Orders [supporting the plastic ban]. In this regard, I welcome the public’s recommendations and feedback. The Government requires the cooperation and support of all facets of society, particularly the public, in assisting in the fight against plastic pollution,” the Minister said.

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