The historic move is part of a phased process of reducing the country’s use of plastics and plastic-based products and to regulate specific categories of plastic packaging materials.
Minister with Responsibility for the Environment, Hon. Daryl Vaz made the announcement today (September 17) during a press briefing at Jamaica House.
Measures to be implemented are as follows:
- Single Use Plastic Carrier/Shopping Bags
Minister Vaz stated that manufacturers and importers of single-use shopping bags made of polyethylene, and such products must apply to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for limited exemptions. These applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis for continued manufacture and importation, allowable not later than January 1, 2021.
- Expanded Polystyrene Foam
Minister Vaz added that the use of polystyrene for the packaging of food items such as raw meats will be exempt. However, producers of products which utilize such packaging must apply to NEPA for limited exemptions.
- Plastic Straws
Minister Vaz noted that consultations were held with several stakeholders in the industry.
The meetings were facilitated through the Multi-Sectoral Working Group, established by Cabinet last year, along with representatives from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
In the meantime, Minister Vaz said the Government is seeking to devise a Deposit Refund Scheme supported by legislation to address the use and recycling of polyethylene terephthalate or PET bottles.