Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says he expects a smooth transition from the use of polystyrene products to the alternatives on the market.
This, he said, is due to persons and businesses having had a much longer time to prepare themselves for the ban.
The Minister was speaking in the House of Representatives on January 14.
As of January 1, 2020, the Government imposed a ban on the local manufacture, distribution and use of expanded polystyrene foam products used in the food and beverage industry.
In September 2018, the Government announced a ban on specific categories of single-use plastics, effective January 1 2019, while at the same time, informing of the ban on styrofoam products in January 2020.
“I believe that 15 months is more than adequate time for businesses to identify suitable alternative packaging at cost-effective prices,” Mr. Vaz said.
“The market has responded with a variety of reusable bags, containers and paper straws, making the transition easier.”— Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz
He noted that one of the concerns was that the alternatives would not be available in quantities to support the policy ban.
“However, the market has responded with a variety of reusable bags, containers and paper straws, making the transition easier. We also expect that the prices for alternatives will trend downwards in the coming months, based on the fact that businesses would have retooled as well as the competition in the marketplace,” Mr Vaz said.
Meanwhile, the Minister noted that as was the case with the ban on single-use plastics, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and the National Environment and Planning Agency are again partnering on an extensive public awareness programme regarding the ban on polystyrene foam products.
“So far, we have visited the parishes of Manchester and St. Catherine. It is still early days regarding feedback, but it was noted that a number of establishments in these parishes are compliant,” Mr Vaz said.
He noted that there are a few areas that will have to be revisited and appropriate action taken where necessary.