Retailers and buyers of plastic products are getting a brief reprieve from the ban of single-use plastics.
While the bar on the importation of single-use plastic and Styrofoam packaging will still take effect on April 1 as planned, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey has announced that vendors and distributors have until July 1 to use their existing stock.
General manager of Direct Packaging Vernolyn Mitchell told Barbados TODAY that she is extremely grateful for the extension because her company is currently storing 400 to 500 cases of plastic products.
Mitchell said: “I am too happy for the extension because there are too many products in here that we would have to dump.” She added that the April 1 deadline was short notice.
The general manager did not believe she would be able to get rid of all her stock of plastics by July 1 but declared that the distribution company would be out of Styrofoam products by April 1.
Although the company was not thoroughly ready for the ban, Mitchell said, it has already begun to gradually roll out biodegradable vegware products at their outlets in Hincks Street, Bridgetown and New Century Complex, Top Rock, Christ Church.
Mitchell also revealed that Direct Packaging will be undergoing a “total transformation” from plastics and Styrofoam to PLA plastic, paper and card. They will also be importing substitutes for petroleum-based plastic bags, which are to be phased out by January 1, 2020.
But expresssing concerns about the public information disseminated by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Mitchell told Barbados TODAY that a number of her customers were uncertain about which products were to be banned.
Mitchell said: “We are unclear about the required materials that will be ban such as soufflé cups. We are not sure if the soufflé cups and plastic cups are under the same ban . . . We need a little more explanation from the [Ministry], detailing the cups and other items; certain things we need to know.”
But a Harbour Road food truck vendor, Sandrine Redman, said that the Government should not extend the ban. She argued that Barbadians were hesitant to change and needed a shove in the right direction.
Redman said: “They already made the change in Guyana over a year ago so I accustomed to it.
“It doesn’t make sense you keep talking about the price because you have to face it. It is better for me so I am going to use it.”
Although she was in support of the move, the Guyana-born vendor disclosed that her food truck has not yet discarded of its plastic and Styrofoam containers because it was still on the market.
Over in the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex, vendors expressed alarm over the 2020 ban on plastic bags. Sandra Hinds, who has been working in the market for over 30 years, wanted to know what would be the alternative packaging.
“When they take away all the plastic from us we can’t put the fish in plate nor bowl to give the people. It is going to affect we a lot,” Hinds said. email@example.com