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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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By April 1st most of the plastic products you use will no longer be imported into or sold in the country. That means the styrofoam plate your food comes in, the straws you get with your soda, and the plastic bags the supermarkets put your groceries in.

The banning of plastic products is something that the government has been working on since the UDP administration, but for various reasons it kept getting pushed back. Still, it's a necessary move for the sake of the environment - less plastics means less pollution. Today the Minister of Sustainable Development, Orlando Habet, explained the schedule they created to phase out plastics and why it took so long to get here.

Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development
"Because the local manufacturers showed us receipts where they had bought raw materials and they want to have a longer extended time to manufacture their products so they don't stay with all those raw materials in their warehouse. We complied thinking that we didn't want them to lose their monies. But at the same time to give us time to review the regulations and be prepared. So, we extended not more than 6 months, so we decided in cabinet and we agree that the last date for manufacturing would have been October 31, last day for sale November 31. Unfortunately, when I signed the regulations, it was brought to our attention through the AG's office that we couldn't put it into effect because we did not have the bureau of standards regulations standards in place until after the October date. So, what happen was we had the October date and the November date almost completed and so the only date that was left was December 31. Effectively we couldn't implement it legally, so we proceeded to inform cabinet and last week we presented it once more with the new dates which should be January 31 for manufacturing, sale February 28 and last date 31 March 2022. Like I mentioned the bio-degradable products are out there in the market. The importers have to source it, at least initially until the local manufacturers can start manufacturing. I think there is one manufacturer currently in Belize that is doing some bio-degradable products including food containers, straws, spoons and stuff like that."

But biodegradable products are more expensive - and with gas and other commodities on the rise, your plate of rice and beans may soon start costing more than the average 7-8 dollars. We asked the Minister if there are any plans to offset these extra costs.

Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development
"I don't know if we can provide any incentives, except that I think that the materials are out there, the standards are not that high. I believe the bureau has started off with 50% bio-degradable, so if they can start up with that eventually maybe we might have to step up the standards to 50-70%. The cost from our understanding might be a little bit higher than the regular single use plastics, but in the long run it is cheaper, because it doesn't cost the government as much in clean-up and we don't lose in terms of all the plastics in the rivers and ocean. We have on our agenda, we are still looking at production of hemp for other purposes, but hemp is also a material that can be use for doing bio-degradable products. They have they ways of having to deal with it, because they can become expensive and you have sugar cane bagasse that can also be use and maybe other fibrous products that can be use."

Using or selling the prohibited plastics after the scheduled dates will result in a fine.

Channel 7

Joined: May 2000
Posts: 7,052
This is great news. Anyone who has seen the coastline or the dump sites knows that so much single use plastic is surrounding us, polluting our environment and we have no safe way to dispose of this waste.

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