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Consumers and retailers are reminded that the ban on all petro-based plastic bags will take effect from April 1.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, reiterated this point as he reminded members of the public of the upcoming plan for the country to stop using petro-based plastic bags.
Commending supermarkets and retailers for their response to the ban on petro-based plastic bags and the level of innovation to create alternatives, the Minister also assured the public that bags would still be available after that date.
“What has been remarkable is that even before the ban was implemented, there were a number of supermarkets, large and small, a number of small stores, a number of persons individually, who made a choice that they do not wish to have those plastic bags; and a number of people are not using those bags,” he said.
Humphrey explained that the manufacturers were able to generate a plastic bag that was not of a petroleum base.
“They are making plastics now from cornstarch; they're making their bags from a PLA (polylactic acid), which is an organic compound, so that we are going to still be able to have access to these bags, but they are going to be the kind of bags that will not hurt the economy and environment over time. For us, that is a major win,” the Minister stated, noting that he was “thrilled” at the level of innovation and response.
He noted that local manufacturers were ahead of the game and leading the charge in the Caribbean to the point that they will be able to supply other parts of the region.
“Sometimes, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. And they've been able to rise the occasion and now Barbados is very happy,” Humphrey said.
He explained that local plastic bag manufacturers were given an extension to first retrofit their factories to use a natural organic based resin. That was accomplished, but on January 1, there was no resin available as it was being used en masse by other manufacturers. This led to the postponement of the ban until April 1.
“We would have disadvantaged them by not giving them the opportunity to be able to have access to the material that they need to make the bags. They gave us the assurance that they would have enough to be able to start by April 1. We did it so that the manufacturers in Barbados, who employ hundreds of Barbadians, would still be able to continue their business,” the Minister stated. (BGIS)
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