Firms have already begun using alternatives to plastic


By Chester Robards

As the country moves toward a plastics and styrofoam ban in the year 2020, businesses have already begun to replace their old plastic containers and accessories with those utilizing alternative materials or biodegradable plastic-like materials.

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Energy and Environment Committee Chairperson Deborah Deal said there has been little pushback from the business community regarding the upcoming ban on plastics. In spite of this, businesses have been proactive about finding alternative products to replace the plastic ones typically on their order forms.

Guardian Business noticed yesterday that Solomon’s Fresh Market has switched out its plastic salad containers at its salad bar. Deal said some of her favorite eateries have notified her that they have begun to do the same. She added that Golden Isles on Exuma has begun to switch out plastic products, as well as The Island House in western New Providence.

“Most of the business are embracing the environment and it’s really good,” she said.

According to Deal, next week town hall meetings regarding the upcoming plastic ban will begin. The first meeting is being held at New Providence Community Church, which has its own recycling program. The meeting is on Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include an address by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

“The whole game plan is to explain to the audience what the plan is for the next year and a half so there is a smooth transition, and to discuss the adjustment to duties that have to be done for the ban,” said Deal.

“We also need people to understand the correct wording and verbiage for customs for their products to make sure they do come in under the right category.”

Deal said she wants to see a company started to make reusable bags, possibly under government’s small grants program.

The Ministry of Environment and Housing signed a memorandum of understanding with the BCCEC’s Energy and Environment Committee in April, which focuses on the elimination of single-use plastics and styrofoam containers for food and beverage by 2020.

Some of the items that will be banned in two years are shopping bags, straws, utensils and styrofoam containers. Minister of Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira said the release of balloons into the atmosphere will eventually be made illegal as well, as those products end up in the oceans as pollutants.

Rachel Chea