Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Embargo on all single-use plastic bags and disposable straws with immediate effect

#Kingston, January 1, 2019 – Jamaica – The Government has ordered that, effective immediately, all stocks of single-use plastic bags of dimensions 24” x 24” and thickness of 1.2 mils or less, and disposable plastic straws be embargoed by manufacturers, importers and distributors.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with responsibility for the Environment, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says this is to be done in a manner as prescribed by the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA).

“It is recommended that retailers contact their suppliers regarding unused inventories of these items to facilitate the Government’s determination with respect to the type and method of compensation that will be applied,” he said.

Mr. Vaz was speaking at a press conference to provide updates on the ban on single-use plastics, straws and styrofoam-based products, at Jamaica House on December 31.  The ban will take effect on January 1, 2019.  Mr. Vaz informed that permission has been granted to some businesses that are yet to receive the alternative packing supplies to continue usage of what exists in inventory to prevent dislocation until the correct supplies arrive.

Meanwhile, Mr. Vaz noted that the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has established a dedicated email address,, and a hotline – 876-285-8531 – to provide information and to communicate to the general public.

“The agency, up to Friday last week (December 28), had received 160 emails, all of which have received responses and also 120 calls to the hotline, which were appropriately handled and guidance provided,” he noted.

Mr. Vaz said that approximately $30 million has been spent on public education, including a Jamaica Information Service (JIS)/NEPA-executed public dialogue and consultation with sector groups to explain all aspects of the policy announcement, and a public education campaign as well as the development of an exemption mechanism surrounding the policy.

“I want to commit that the public education campaign will intensify and continue. We have designed a methodology of how we can make this happen in terms of the necessary resources (needed),” he said.

To ensure compliance on the ban, the Government announced two Ministerial Orders, which have been gazetted.  One of the Orders is under the Trade Act and the other under the Natural Resources and Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act.  These Orders provide the regulatory framework to support the policy measure announced.

The maximum fine under the Trade Act (Trade Plastic Packing Material Order) 2018, is $2 million, while under the NRCA (Plastic Packaging Prohibiting) Order 2018, the fine is $50,000. Both Orders carry a term of imprisonment of two years.


Release: JIS

Contact: Chad Bryan



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