The new year started with a significant legislation taking effect, yes, I’m referring to the “plastic ban” which applies to plastic bags (dimensions 24”x24” and thickness of 1.2 mils or less), disposable plastic straws and styrofoam products.
The Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order,2018 and The Trade (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order,2018 brought this law into effect. Paragraph 3 states “With Effect from the 1st day of January, 2019, and subject to paragraph 4, no person shall import or distribute any single use plastic in commercial quantities”.
The ban excludes single-use plastic bags utilized to maintain public health or food safety standards such as those used to package raw meats, flour, rice, sugar and baked goods.
If you are a manufacturer or an importer, you may be relieved to know that you can apply to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for limited exceptions until January 2021. Additionally, plastic straws attached to juice boxes and drink pouches will be allowed until January 2021.
Many persons may be wondering what the consequences are for using single-use plastics. Persons/ companies who are in violation commits an offence under the Order and if convicted, can be fined up to $50,000 under The Natural Resources Conservation Authority or up to $2,000,000 under The Trade Order. Both orders give the Judge of the Parish Court authority to imprison for a term not exceeding two years.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)