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Government on track with phasing out single use Styrofoam products

While many are counting down to the ICJ Referendum, there is also the phasing out of Styrofoam products which will take place in April 2019.  Many consumers, vendors and wholesalers will be affected by this move.  Reporter Dalila Ical has a story on where we are with less than three months to go.

Dalilah Ical: “The phasing out of single use plastics and styrofoam items launched officially on April 22nd coinciding with Earth day. Maxine Monsanto, Environmental Officer in the Environmental Law and Policy Unit in the Department of the Environment says the legislation needed to make their timeline will soon be in place.

Maxine Monsanto Environmental Officer: “Currently where we are we are at the drafting stage of the legislation and it is at the Solicitor General’s Office, their legislative drafters are working on it and we expect to have a draft for consultation soon.

Dalilah Ical: The legislation includes proposed dates for the enforcement of importation production and the sale of these items but these are not yet being made public.

Maxine Monsanto Environmental Officer: We are calling it a phased in approach but if you look at laws there are enactment periods and there are days it comes in to force so while the legislation will be in place before the 22nd of April…and that is why the Government announced that but the 22nd of April we will start the process. There will be an enforcement date and that is basically what it is. There will be dates for enforcement so you will have time to transition through this process.

Dalilah Ical: “But even before the phasing out launched some Belizean business have been switching to biodegradable alternatives. Luis Garcia, General Manager of Eco Friendly solutions had accompanied items for the food industry says his sales are looking good.

Luis Garcia General Manager: “The phasing out is a wonderful one. We are preparing for that and the sales in the past two years has increased even before the press release came out but as soon as the press release came out we are now selling to supermarkets which we had never done that before but the moment that the press release came along we are selling to supermarkets and then the consumer can buy at the supermarkets.

Dalilah Ical: “And while there are several questions and concerns from consumers it is a welcoming change for those environmentally conscious.

Luis Garcia General Manager: “There is a lot of positive environmental and health effects that have a value that we don’t see that value because you have to purchase it so there is the value that the product is a lot more than what you pay for. These products you can microwave them, you re use use them, you cannot do that with styrofoam because the moment they are in the environment and there in touch with the elements they start breaking down.”

Dalilah Ical: A joint press release by Ministry of Economic Development Tourism and Environment last year stated that single use plastic bags styrofoam containers and plastic utensils represent 19% of solid waste volume in the municipal waste stream. Dalila Ical Love News.

The phasing out of Styrofoam products begins on April 22, 2019.