Plastic bans have been a hot topic among cities and countries who are wanting to “go green,” and it appears that Jamaica is one of the latest countries to jump on the bandwagon. The plans set by the Jamaican Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation is set to start on January 1st, 2019. It’s the island country’s move to jump on the international movement to eliminate plastic usage and pollution.
The logistics of the ban will specifically target smaller bags that are less than 24 inches by 24 inches. Most of these bags in the country are black in color and have been nicknamed “scandal bags” because the color makes it impossible to see whatever it is that was purchased. Like many other countries and cities that have already initiated bans, shoppers are being pointed toward the use of reusable cloth bags. The ban will not extend to the smaller, single-use plastic bags that are often used in the food industry, mainly for the packaging of meat, rice, sugar, flour, and baked products like fresh bread.
The ban doesn’t just stop with the shopping bags. Jamaica also plans to ban Styrofoam products. Businesses and importers that use Styrofoam will have a little more time to make alternate plans, as they’re eligible to apply for an extension of use until January 2021. Plastic straws will also be banned as of January 1st next year, but those straws that are attached to drink pouches and juice boxes will also get an extension until 2021. As with many other countries, exceptions will likely also be made for the medical industry, which uses some plastic products like drinking straws because of patient health reasons.
Government agencies will assist companies with phasing out the plastics. Officials have also commented about happy they are to be joining a global movement to protect the environment by eliminating plastic packaging.
A Jamaican non-profit organization called Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) said that it was very happy with the lawmakers’ decision to take a stance against pollution after advocating for many years.
The move to eliminate plastic packaging is another example of trying to eliminate pollution at the source, rather than relying strictly on consumers to increase their recycling efforts.