#Providenciales, June 14, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – In five months, Styrofoam products and plastic straws will no longer be allowed into the Turks and Caicos Islands according to the Cabinet meeting of May 29, 2019 where all attending the session agreed the items should be banned from entry to the country.
“Approved a ban on the importation of EPS (Styrofoam / polystyrene products) and plastic straws from 1 November 2019, and the use of same by retailers from 1 April 2020.”
Styrofoam and plastic straws are the latest casualties in the war on slow rotting, toxic trash which clogs up landfills, pollutes the air and poses health risks, according to research.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer explain that Styrofoam, made from polystyrene is suspected of containing carcinogens and neuro toxins which cause cancer and that it is non-biodegradable.
It has not been proven that Styrofoam causes cancer, but experts agree that when heated the product is unhealthy for people and detrimental to air quality.
Though small, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government is determined to ensure these islands leave less and less of a carbon footprint and place less and less of a demand on manufacturers for nuisance products like Styrofoam and plastics.
For TCIG, “Climate Change is real.”
Collier County in Florida has not completely banned the products, but is encouraging residents to reduce and reuse, wherever possible. At its website, Collier County posted this:
“It is unknown how long it takes for polystyrene to biodegrade. Some experts estimate the decomposition of Styrofoam to 500 years, with limited recycling options. When used with food products, especially when heated, Styrofoam releases toxic chemicals into the food causing a contamination which can be hazardous to your health In addition, when exposed to sunlight, Styrofoam creates harmful air pollutants which contaminate landfills and deplete the ozone layer. Styrofoam is one of the most environmentally unfriendly types of waste that exist today impacting our planets ecological system.”
CARICOM partners like Grenada, Jamaica and Guyana have also banned the products in their jurisdictions. The Bahamas’ ban on single use plastics is due to take effect in 2020.
On June 1, 2019 the Turks and Caicos successfully activated a ban on single use plastic bags and by April 1, 2020, retailers in the TCI are expected to discontinue serving both Styrofoam and plastic straw products.