Plastic bag makers have been given extra time to continue producing petroleum-based plastic bags, a month after a ban took effect, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey has announced.
The decision was made owing to the unavailability of the resin used to make biodegradable bags, he said.
But manufacturers must first apply for permission from the ministry before proceeding to produce the bags, the Minister added.
Three plastic bag manufacturers have so far been granted permission to manufacture petroleum-based bags for a three-month period.
“The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy will continue to monitor the situation and will update the public as necessary,” Humphrey declared, while stressing that the ban remained on importation of petroleum-based bags.
He also reiterated Government’s commitment to the protection of the marine resources and a strong sustainable future through the use of biodegradable alternatives.
The Minister explained that existing world conditions had placed a “tremendous burden” on the production and supply chain of biodegradable products.
“Barbados needs to develop its own indigenous responses to tackling the problems of marine and wider pollution, and we look forward to generating solutions to our challenges,” Humphrey said.
But while exemptions are being made for the manufacturing of the petroleum-based plastic bags for a limited time, the Blue Economy Minister reminded the public that all other petroleum-based single-use plastics remain banned.
This includes single-use plastic cups; cutlery, including plastic knives, forks and spoons; stirrers; straws; plates; egg trays (both plastic and Styrofoam); and Styrofoam containers used in the culinary retail industry. That ban took effect on April 1.
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