Jamaican government to launch plastic bottle deposit programme

Plastic bottles. Image: Lisa Risager
Solid waste

The government of Jamaica will be partnering with the private sector to launch a deposit and refund programme for plastic bottles:

The Government is committing $75 million over three years towards the implementation of a plastic bottle deposit scheme.

This was announced by minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, who said the scheme is to be implemented in partnership with Recycling Partners of Jamaica, which has already taken on the task of reducing plastic bottle waste in the country.

“We are providing financial support to Recycling Partners of Jamaica – a private sector-led initiative towards the island wide collection and export of plastic bottles under the Housing Opportunities Production and Employment (HOPE) programme,” Vaz said.

He was addressing a World Oceans Day event dubbed ‘Save Our Sea’, hosted by Conservation Through Education Jamaica at the Urban Development Corporation’s (UDC) Orange Park in downtown Kingston on June 8.

Since November 2016, the project has collected over 1.3 million pounds of plastic waste for export.

Vaz explained that under the scheme, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and other plastic bottles will have a value, so instead of throwing them out, persons can turn them in for cash.

“So people will not be in a rush to dispose of them but rather to cash them in, so that they can be taken out the garbage and the rivers and the streams,” the minister said.

He stressed that this is an initiative that “is sorely needed” to reduce plastic bottle waste in the country, pointing out that Jamaicans use and dispose of almost one billion PET bottles annually, which is equivalent to 350 bottles per Jamaican each year.

“The Government recognises the impact that improper solid waste disposal is having on the country and is taking several steps to rectify this problem,” he said.

In the meantime, the minister who oversees the environment portfolio, informed that the working group on single-use plastic, recently concluded its work and subsequent consultations were held with several stakeholders in order to arrive at a consensus on the actions that must be taken about this issue.

“We have already met with the manufacturers of these plastic bottles and indicated to them that the Government’s position is going to be announced in due course and we are giving them time to start to make the changes that are necessary,” he said.

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics include plastic bags, straws, soda and water bottles and food packaging.

Read more in the original article from the Jamaica Gleaner.

EDITED June 13, 2018 to add: Vaz Clarifies $75-Million Commitment By Government:

In clarifying what he actually said, the minister said the J$75 million mentioned is not for the plastic bottle deposit scheme, Recycling Partners of Jamaica, or the HOPE programme, as was stated in a JIS press release published by The Gleaner yesterday, but is, in fact, earmarked for the ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’ campaign.

The minister added that the Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica campaign would receive financial support of J$25 million per year, over a three-year period.

The Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica campaign, which is spearheaded by the Jamaica Environment Trust, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and Wisynco, is a component of the Clean Coasts Project and aims to increase public education about the impact of improper waste disposal on the environment and on the health of Jamaicans.

Previously on Green Antilles: Jamaican companies participate in plastic recycling challenge and Jamaica to ban single-use plastic bags ‘soon’.

[Image: via Lisa Risager]

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