Dominica to ban Styrofoam, plastic items

Styrofoam will be banned in Dominica early next year

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that effective January 1st 2019, Styrofoam and certain plastic items will be banned in Dominica.

Speaking during the National Budget on Wednesday, he said the move is part of the government’s vision of making Dominica the first climate resilient country in the world.

“Madam Speaker, consistent with the Government’s vision to create the world’s first climate resilient nation, our designation as “The Nature Isle” and our commitment to protect Mother Earth, effective 1st January 2019, a number of items considered to be inimical to the environment will be banned,” he said. “These will include the following: plastic straws, plastic plates, plastic forks, plastic knives, Styrofoam cups, Styrofoam containers.”

He said the necessary legislation on the ban will be prepared, part of which a full list of items to be banned will be prepared.

He stated Dominica prides itself as the “Nature Isle” and “We must in every way deserve and reflect that designation.”

Skerrit went on to say the issue of solid waste management affects the perception of Dominica as the Nature Island and his government continues to grapple with the problem.

“In a previous Budget Address, I announced a decision to restrict the importation of non-biodegradable containers and plastic implements used in food service,” he explained. “This matter has not proceeded as quickly as we would have liked, as we wanted to ensure that we implemented that policy without compromising our obligations under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. It is acceptable for a country to adopt measures which will help in the preservation of the environment.”

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  1. A Girl is No One
    July 27, 2018

    This move away from plastics and styrofoam is a great start towards living up to our moniker ‘The Nature Isle’. Antigua has been phasing out plastics and styrofoam for the past few years, and it seems to be working well. Let’s not politicize this Dominicans, it is an excellent plan.

  2. anonymous2
    July 27, 2018

    I guess that it is back to paper products or bring your own container and utensils.

  3. July 27, 2018

    I might add to my comment at the beginning of this thread, that I also make my own canvas shopping bags, one of which is still going strong after 30 years.

    Plastic bags have to be doubled to take the weight of heavy items, whereas a my canvas bags do not. Hence, on a typical week’s food shopping, I save the pollution caused by at least ten plastic bags.

  4. Tatiana Green
    July 27, 2018

    I support the PM on this move. But he now has a duty to reduce of taxes or give duty free on these biodegradable food containers or go green products to now allow persons to purchase these items at reasonable prices so the cost for food does are affordable

  5. marie-claire R Skerrit
    July 26, 2018

    lets see how effective this is going to be. The do talk a good talk what alternatives are being offered besides just throwing big talk out there. Carmem

  6. Zandoli
    July 26, 2018

    I have been a frequent critic of Skerrit and his administration, but I am behind him 100% in that on. I wish the rest of the Caribbean islands would follow. Styrofoam is a scourge on the landscape.

    • Environmentally friendly
      July 26, 2018

      Actually Antigua started last year. They are in the 3rd stage: Guyana announced plans to start in 2016.. Maybe there are more..

    • Year of Environment & Shelter
      July 26, 2018

      Good idea. Styrofoam etc is NOT good forthe environment. Antigua started last their ban last year. See article: The list of Alternatives to Styrofoam available in Antigua and Barbuda include:

      Sugar cane/bagasse
      PLA Cornstarch (non-GMO)
      Wheat straw
      Cardboard/ Paper

      Areca Palm
      Potato Starch

  7. Chakademus
    July 26, 2018

    Wow. Back to the days of enamel cups and drinks in ‘grass bockle’.

  8. Sams
    July 26, 2018

    I agree with you and rally 110 percent with you on this move

  9. Truth
    July 26, 2018

    what is replacing those?, Pie in the sky, This will not happen,

  10. Chipz
    July 26, 2018

    No styrofoam cups so the ice in peoples drinks will melt fast? No plastic forks, knives, & spoons so how will people eat food if they are not at home? No straws so how will people drink liquids without a straw? All straws are plastic!!!!!! Chupes!!!……. What is wrong with this man? Put higher priorities first like strengthening the economy & workforce. Smh

    • WhatAmIReading
      July 27, 2018

      You are a stupid person. Google are at your finger tips. Try using.

  11. Bring back the parrots
    July 26, 2018

    Dominica needs a robust mandatory re-cycle system such as in European countries, it should be illegal to dump plastics, cardboard, batteries and other re-cycle able materials etc.. into land fills. The government should construct a re-cycle plant using CBI and Hurricane donated funds. The material can be used to manufacture other useful items and even exported for cash with the money put into the treasury.

  12. Hmph
    July 26, 2018

    I really believe thats a good move, thougb e have to think of the altenative in several cases.

  13. BEES
    July 26, 2018

    This is a good move. However, I am hopeful that there is a robust strategy behind this decision. This to include but not limited to , sensitization/communication, legislation, and at the operation level beginning with the ports of entries, sanctions and enforcement.

  14. jamie
    July 26, 2018

    Great move will support you on this one.

  15. Ozzie
    July 26, 2018

    More government actions that will ultimately lead to increased higher in prices of foods and other items that are dependent on these low cost plastics. Aren’t Dominicans suffering enough? Why would you promote policies that make life harder for us. Why aren’t these politicians stating the devastatingly negative effects of this ridiculous new law. These nonsense laws was put in place in many parts of the world and have been a total failure. We have massive lush vegetation and forest, a very good garbage disposal system and very little littering so there’s no need for this law that will make life more expensive and difficult for us. The most important commodity for survival is the food we eat. Why is the government making that more expensive for us. What a shame!!! We should all rise up against this absurdity.

    • ?????????
      July 26, 2018

      Ozzie ! Ozzie ! absurd .. Don’t you see the mess styrofoam is doing? Plastic is also carcinogenic (having the potential to cause cancer) as well. Are you are one of those person who enjoy seeing litter? You state “Why aren’t these politicians stating the devastatingly negative effects of this ridiculous new law.” Since you know so much, why don’t you do this exercise and give a $ value. Do you know that we have a company manufacturing bio degradable containers? So you just want to eat and dump your plate under the chair and when you are out, dump your styrofoam dish/plastic fork/spoon and glass in the gutter (Are you one of those who states “if I do not litter, the guy cleaning will not have work to do?) Really??????

      Do you remember how the roads and areas looked after hurricane Maria? Do you advocate that the areas should not be cleaned and we throw away all our garbage anywhere?

      • Ozzie
        July 26, 2018

        You are conflating two different issues. If you want to promote that we keep Dominica clean then do so. I’m all for that. But don’t fool people by saying that banning these plastics and making eating more expensive will solve our garbage problems. You mentioned that Dominica has a company making bio degradable containers. That company will benefit tremendously. This law will basically eliminate the competition and make the shareholders millionaires overnight. I’m sure there are government individuals who own shares in that company. “Corruption Corruption Corruption” while the rest of us will suffer the consequences of higher food prices. A shame that the restaurants are not speaking out because higher prices will always lead to reduced business. Remember government is fundamentally manipulative, corrupt and deceitful.

      • Larry Grell
        July 26, 2018

        Exactly Ozzie. Pure stupidity. No thought…no research.
        .no common sense. Why is our beautiful country so dirty. Ask Skerro…..My two pennies it’s not because of plastics straws or styrofoam cups…its be use some persons don’t care enough about disposing of their waste….they are too damn nasty. They litter and dump waste where they should not. The solid white people don’t have the resources they need to do their job
        Blame the regime who has not given them the resources. Don’t blame the plastic straws…and they are so hypocritical….again it was not much of a budget so I guess some red herrings thrown in will help the regime to show they have ideas somewhat…let’s ban the real culprits that have our beautiful island dirty and unhealthy…
        .the labour party regime and the nasty citizens…..imagine Skerro trying to link this to resiliency…..what is wrong with these fellas? Come 2019 let’s ban imported cars from Japan, tires, plastic cups and plates, plastic and…

    • Bring back the parrots
      July 27, 2018

      Since plastics are made from petroleum and never decompose when dumped into the ground if they want to keep using plastic there needs to be a mandatory recycle system to keep them out of the landfill. Years ago there were no plastic bags used in grocery stores it was all paper.

  16. Child of Itassi
    July 26, 2018

    A move in the right direction if implemented.

    In retrospect, saying “This matter has not proceeded as quickly as we would have liked, as we wanted to ensure that we implemented that policy without compromising our obligations under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.” wrongfully insinuates that the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas is the hindrance to our progress in preserving the environment, according to Article 65 of that treaty which clearly states:

    “…the Community shall promote measures to ensure:
    (c) the adoption of initiatives at the Community level to address regional
    environmental problems.”

  17. LifeandDeath
    July 26, 2018

    Now, it’s not that some of the things Skerrit says doesn’t make sense but it’s that he doesn’t think through or articulate what is the alternative for the small restaurant owners on Island? To what degree will they be affected?
    So while we make progress one way, we totally compromise another sector.. Think Skerrit, THINK!!..maybe there could be a phased approach..offer alternatives…Let’s see how that goes.

    • Daniel J Tanner
      July 26, 2018

      Paper or cardboard. What was used before plastic?

    • ?????????
      July 26, 2018

      For your information, there are alternatives for the restaurant owners . There are biodegradable food/drink containers LifeandDeath. Before you comment, you must first learn about the subject matter. Gather all information you can. Styrofoam is not biodegradable (that is it does not rot and pollutes the environment). A biodegradable material is one that rots and blends back into the earth as time goes by. On another note, you should know that the fumes from burning styrofoam is also not healthy. Another pollution of the air that we breathe. Syrofaoam plates/glasses blocks the gutters (A lot of litterers) , so a little rain and there can be floods. Remember Hurricane Maria? Floods are another reason to do away with those styro. Good riddance!

  18. Pragmatik
    July 26, 2018

    This is all well and good but just banning those materials will not just magically make the solid waste problem disappear. In order to do that you would have to ban electronics, plastic bags (this should probably be on that list tbh), plastic bottles (bye bye soda) among many other things. Also in accordance with the climate resilience and nature island philosophy they can start by cleaning up all those abandoned vehicles rusting all over the place, all those abandoned appliances and white goods, all those galvanised sheets left over from the hurricane etc.

    This sounds to me like just some lofty proclamation to get people to think that they are serious about ‘climate resilience’. I’m waiting to see how or if this will even be implemented.

  19. July 26, 2018

    I am currently making high grade art paper and card out of banana, sugarcane and pineapple “trash”. The same abundant natural resources could be bulked with waste paper to make biodegradable food containers right here in Dominica, with an end product for home use and export.

    • Pragmatik
      July 26, 2018

      What level of production can you achieve with those materials and how cost effective will it be? Consider that these are supposed to be disposable containers and such they should be very cheap so as not to incur additional cost on businesses that are already struggling with high cost of operation.

      • July 26, 2018

        The typical thirty piece egg tray that we import is made from recycled paper.

        Converting cellulose plant fibres into paper pulp is a simple one stage process. For containers the pulp then needs to be molded. The cost of a mold is a one-off.

        My own interest, research and development is limited to high quality art papers. This came about because of the cost and difficulty in sourcing papers that are distinctive and individualistic. My paper now grows within a few feet of my studio door!

        If you go to the latest post at: you will see one of my textured 24″ x 26″ cards intended for matting watercolours. At the other end of the scale I can make sheets as thin as tissue paper.

  20. Uncle
    July 26, 2018

    I applaus this move, which is not before time.

  21. %
    July 26, 2018

    Similar promises were made in the past pertaining to other plastic items..This man is a bad leader,a cannot do leader,a leader who is destroying Dominica with his lazy, inept,myopic it’s shameful!!!
    Where The Wicked Rule The People Mourn!!!
    This DLP is a Wicked and Evil Party!!!

    • ?????????
      July 26, 2018

      Stick to plastic pollution %. There is not a question as to who rules. It is high time to stick to the issue at hand. It is in this case – Banning of styrofoam, plastic. Keep your comments to that. % for starters. Look outside the box. Keep distraction out (your political preference) and then draw down. Look for alternative options and then discuss not lament or cry. Stick to the subject matter. Your personal opinion and choice who you support.

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