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St Maarten Bans Single-Use Plastic

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SINGLE-USE plastic will be officially banned in St Maarten from January 1, 2021.

At a recent meeting of the Island Council, the Council unanimously approved the Island Ordinance to ban the use of such plastics which includes plastic bags, St Maarten News (SMN) Network reported.

The ordinance prohibits the provision of a list of easily replaceable or frequently used single-use plastic products such as carrier bags, food containers, cups, plates, cutlery, straws, stirrers, cotton swabs with plastic rods, fresh produce bags and confetti. Styrofoam and bioplastics will also be banned.

In 2018, the initiative was brought forward by Council Member Vito Charles.

Charles said, “Two years ago, this Island Council unanimously adopted my motion to ban single-use plastic. I am very content that the ban now becomes a reality. We are at the crossroads of how we want to further develop our island. Sustainability is becoming more and more important globally. This plastic ban will contribute to Saba’s environment and sustainability.”

Other Council Members spoke about the benefits of the proposal.

Carl Buncamper said, “This is a milestone for the island and the region as a whole. It puts us closer to see a reduction of single-use plastics, to reduce the amount of trash in general, and by extent, to reduce our carbon footprint. Banning single-use plastic is a necessary step. We all know how harmful plastics are for the environment. This ordinance is a step closer to achieving a cleaner, healthier environment.”

The ban will be implemented in phases with the first ban going into effect for carrier bags on January 1, 2021.

“Other products with the exception of food containers, follow on May 1, 2021.

“Plastic food containers will be banned, on October 1, 2021. The reason for this was that similar quality alternatives for food containers were harder to find than for the other products on the list.

“Restaurant owners needed sufficient time to test different products and find a proper solution before fully eliminating the plastic and styrofoam containers.”

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