Saint Lucia plans to phase-out Styrofoam food service containers and plastics, both plates and cups, beginning December 1, 2018, with a total ban on their importation before the end of next year.
The announcement came in a statement from Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Doctor Gale Rigobert.
Rigobert said the Government of Saint Lucia is cognizant of the negative impact on the environment and human health from food service containers made from Polystyrene and Expanded Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, along with Plastics.
However, she observed that the administration recognises that the healthier alternative to these products, such as biodegradable and compostable food service containers, are more costly.
” We are doing our very best to alleviate this issue,” the minister explained.
She disclosed that over the last few months, the Department of Sustainable Development, in partnership with other key agencies such as the Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority, the Department of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce and the Customs and Excise Department, has been working towards the development of a strategy to eliminate single use plastics, polystyrene and expanded polystyrene from the Saint Lucia market.
“To date, we have completed fiscal analyses, conducted a survey of the key suppliers of these products and we have also identified suppliers of the biodegradable and compostable food service containers, all this to ensure that Saint Lucia creates the enabling environment to facilitate this process,” Rigobert stated.
She explained that in light of this, the Department of Sustainable Development will be taking a phased approach to facilitate a smooth transition for all stakeholders.
“The phase-out, along with a ban on the importation of Styrofoam food service containers, and plastics, both plates and cups, will commence December 1, 2018 with a total ban culminating by November 30, 2019:”
Rigovert revealed that in order to ensure adequate sensitisation, the Department of Sustainable Development will continue its campaign to educate the general public on the options they have available to them during this phase.
“With respect to plastic bottles, discussions are ongoing with major stakeholders to finalize legislation that would curb and control their use,” the minister noted.
“I encourage you to join the fight to reduce your dependency on single use plastics and Styrofoam by utilizing re-useable bottles, food containers, cutlery and shopping bags. Let us act responsibly in our everyday consumption and production,”Rigobert stated.