Government Maintaining Ban On Expanded Polystyrene Foam Products

December 6, 2019

The Government of Jamaica will proceed with implementing the ban on locally manufactured and distributed expanded polystyrene foam products used in the food and beverage industry. The ban will take effect on January 1, 2020.

This follows the implementation of phase one of the ban on the importation of the items, which took effect on January 1, 2019.

In light of concerns regarding the availability of suitable alternatives in the local market and requests for a delay in the implementation of the second phase of the ban, policy makers engaged industry stakeholders including the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) and individual private sector companies, as well as the relevant public sector entities to consider the concerns.

Honourable Daryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investments noted that policy makers deliberated on the recommendations put forward by each stakeholder group, keenly considering the availability of suitable alternatives.

The policy maker’s assessment determined that with the increasing availability of viable alternatives, the Government is convinced that the timely implementation of this second phase will continue to improve the lives of all Jamaicans as well as safeguard public health and the environment.

Successful implementation of phase one of the ban on some single-use plastics
Minister Vaz explained that the decision to continue was strengthened by the successful implementation of the first phase of the ban.

The general acceptance of the ban has been observed across the island – although there are breaches taking place.

To date, the State has taken legal action and over 27 individuals and companies have been charged for breaching The Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order, 2018.

"I am encouraging the public to make use of the alternatives available on the market,” stated Minister Vaz.

The public and business operators are encouraged to read the orders governing the ban, which are available on the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) website:
1. The Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order, 2018
2. The Trade (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order, 2018

NEPA continues to operate a hotline 876-285-8531 and a dedicated email address, to receive comments, recommendations and queries on the ban on single-use plastics.