7 Caribbean countries to ban plastic in 2020

| 31/12/2019 | 71 Comments
Cayman News Service
Plastic in the ocean is killing marine creatures

(CNS): Seven Caribbean countries will introduce some form of single-use plastic and polystyrene ban in the New Year, but the Cayman Islands is not one of them. Although government here has been hinting that it is thinking about imposing some form of restriction, plastic use is currently entirely unrestricted, even though the Caribbean region is now ranked as one of the worst plastic polluted areas of the world.

The main objective of the various bans in the regions is to address ocean pollution and the degradation of this region’s marine habitat.

Jamaica, Belize, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago, which alone produces 1.5kgs of plastic waste per person per day, the highest in the world, will no longer import or allow single-use plastics and polystyrene.

Although the ban is limited to certain products in most of the jurisdictions, such plastic bags, straws, cups, takeout containers or drink bottles, it is a step in the right direction that Cayman has yet to even begin considering. There has been demonstrable support here for a ban, with activists and students having campaigned for most of 2019 for government to act. However, so far the government has made no commitments to any kind of ban.

While local restaurants and bars and several stores have joined forces with activists and voluntarily stopped offering plastic bags, introduced alternatives to Styrofoam containers, cups and straws, government seems in no hurry to make any imposition on the business community that it may find inconvenient.

Earlier in December the ministry cancelled yet another meeting of its own plastic pollution steering committee, which has met only once since it was created earlier in the year.

Visit the Plastic Free Cayman website or Facebook page to find out how to reduce plastic use.

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Category: Environmental Health, Health

Comments (71)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I was surprised to learn this…

    “The Caribbean is one of the world’s greatest plastic polluters — of the 30 countries that produce the most plastic pollution per capita, 10 are from the Caribbean region, as reported by Forbes via the Journal of Science.”

    Many countries are enforcing the single use plastic ban around the world.
    We are looking at 12 BILLION tons of plastic litter by 2050, (https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25496/singleUsePlastic_sustainability.pdf?isAllowed=y&sequence=1).
    We already have micro plastics in our drinking water. Besides SMB, all our beaches are covered in plastic.

    The Creperie/Lucky Slice, (I have no affiliation), is one place that takes on the responsibility of not only being proactive but being a social change agent by screening documentaries to provide awareness and education to the public. If you let that sink in – a local pizzeria is doing the government’s job in educating the public – yes, it’s troubling that our government does not do more.

    First world countries don’t even have proper recycling programs where regulations are enforced. Of course recycling is not going to be efficient here – so force manufacturers and retailers alike to ask themselves, “what can we do different so we aren’t all swimming in plastic”.

    Humans survived just fine before plastic. I’m sure we can work out a solution for the commenter who was devastated that his precious laundry detergent will no longer come in a colourful package with a lid.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I will not patronize businesses that use styrofoam containers. I encourage everyone to do the same. It’s disgusting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Our government being in bed with Dart is in direct conflict with a ban on single use plastics. End of…

  4. Anonymous says:

    The new Foster’s Food Takeaway area has (finally) instituted paper trays with corn lids, but still has two gigantic bins of single use plastic cutlery, knife, fork, spoon, napkin, salt and pepper sealed in a bag. So wasteful and tone deaf. Why don’t they have real washable cutlery for dine-in and wooden/biodegradable forks for takeaway? They don’t even sell them in the store. I bought a pack of biodegradable forks from Kirks and now keep them in my desk drawer at work. It’s time to name and shame those establishments that don’t have a clue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not only that the doors are too small for people to fit through and also they don’t have a changing table in the bathroom. A lady working there told me to go over to Camana Bay to use the public restroom to change my baby.

      • Anonymous says:

        Life is full of choices, nobody held you down and forced you to have a baby.

        • I wonder what your mom did when she took you out of the house as a baby? says:

          Sure, and I provide for that baby. Most establishments also are understanding enough to not want business to be lost because a mother can’t shop when her baby shits it’s pants and it’s leaking out of the diaper because the facilities don’t provide a cheap hanging table.

          Next time my baby craps I’ll just let it fall to the floor for you to slip on.

        • Anonymous says:

          Also, that comment is really insensitive as in this country if someone did hold me down and impregnate me without my consent I would be forced to have a baby because abortion isn’t legal.

      • Anon says:

        OMG…I thought it was just me! Those doors are WAY too small!

      • Anonymous says:

        Kinda cruel changing ya baby so soon. Stick with it for a while, it’ll leave home in 30 years if you’re lucky.
        FYI, contrary to how most modern parents feel, your child care issues aren’t our responsibility, but the waste and plastic it generates are. So think about diapers, toys, clothing and every other piece of plastic and environmental damage that children will generate before they are old enough to effect change themselves.
        It’s not something that most people consider, but all those issues mentioned in your complaint WILL result in some use of plastic or some other non recyclable material.
        Plastic has grown in popularity since the rise of disposable consumerism, and the largest contributor to this blight is over population.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cayman always behind on important issues. Plastic killing environment, planet, animals, and mammals. What is so hard to understand?!

    • Anonymous says:

      Our social issues from environment to mental health are third world and….

      No one talks about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Minister of Environment “had to be convinced” that the plastic crises is real. Everybody, except him, is convinced 😡

  6. Anonymous says:

    Feel good reactions and banning products because other countries in the area did, doesn’t seem like thoughtful solutions to me. Rather, its emotion based decision making that always produces unexpected results

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wonder what we’re waiting on here in the Cayman Islands to do the same ? All of this single use plastics makes no sense, especially on an island.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Business community has come together to decrease all environmental threats and the increase of non degradable products continually increasing the landfill serious issue. However gov’t has shown no support nor interest. All importation of biodegradable and compostable products should be duty exempt. Production of these products are very costly in addition to the “now trend” making these prices costly increasing and effecting the cost of goods sold. Consumers should begin demanding that businesses begin implementing these changes. Other Islands are already leading the way to an environmentally conscious society. It is time that our gov’t hear our people’s concerns and demands for change!

    • Anonymous says:

      Some of these businesses have massive amounts of money but yet they can’t even put simple recycling bins on their sites? Every restaurant and bar should have recycle bins available.

      • Anonymous says:

        Whats the point when there is nothing done with the separated garbage after pickup?

        • Anonymous says:

          Junk sends it off island. How thick are you people?!

          • Anonymous says:

            Well, I note that Junk’s last tweeted shipment off-island was 18 Dec 2014. CDP/UDP political co-owner, and serial DUIer, Rolston Anglin XXXX. We might want to get that fact-checked here.

  9. Anonymous says:

    When are we going to stop selling cigarettes? Are we waiting for more information there?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t a comprehensive waste management plan, a lined dump, and mandatory recycling be higher priorities than an all-out single-use plastics ban we can never comply with? Regrettable as it is, why would we, living on an island, want to pretend to ban single use food packaging that we have no consumer control over? Does anyone use their heads any more?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why not ban the reef-toxic sunscreens like Palau has? Oh, that’s right, because our politicians don’t care about reefs and aren’t interested in the reasonable thoughts from others.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I live in red bay and was delivered some stupid PPM calendar and bs Xmas wish. It was inside a plastic bag hanging on my door. They cancelled a meeting with plastic free cayman about 2 days before the nonsense landed on my door.

  13. Anonymous says:

    ever wonder why a turtle is our national symbol?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Assuming this is a joke of some sort? Jamaica and all those countries further ahead than Cayman? (No disrespect). We are dead last now.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Sure, ban plastic shopping bags, styrofoam fast food containers, and plastic straws, but a ban on single use plastic is not reasonable. We are not carrying our household garbage to the dump in our arms, nor are we cupping our palms for a squirt of shampoo or detergent. What do you want to do with your frozen foods? Let’s not enact stupid policies with no alternatives. North America’s hundreds of millions of consumers dictate what is sent here in the containers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Plastic substitutes that degrade are available, They are made from corn and hemp. So we can take the lead by making intelligent decisions instead of hand wringing about what to do.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not sure many of you kids understand how broad a category “disposable single use plastic” is. HE laundry detergent doesn’t come in hemp bags, and neither do frozen vegetables, or the garbage bags it all goes into. Wouldn’t it make sense to first request some initial effort to recycle more than just type #1 and 2 plastic, long before demonizing consumer packaging decisions we can’t influence as a market?

        • Anonymous says:

          Man there are a lot of idiots here. Maybe spend 10 seconds researching what single use plastics are being banned and you would learn it doesn’t cover your laundry detergent.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well your laundry detergent plastic can be recycled….

      • Anonymous says:

        There are financial and practical limits to what Cayman consumers can reasonably accomplish at the checkout lane vis à vis type 4,5,6 plastics originating in North America. For example, our small market, with barely any recycling (all voluntary), can’t reasonably compel bread manufacturers to repackage our loaves in burlap sacks, and we will never have competitive wild berry farms. We need to educate to reduce where we can, recycle more, reuse more, and pick our battles. We cannot comply with an arbitrary ban on consumer goods we can’t control.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Just go out the back of the supermarkets and see all the cardboard boxes they dispose of that we could use to carry our purchases home instead of a plastic bag.

  17. Anonymous says:

    We should be ashamed of ourselves. If they can do it in Jamaica, why not here?

    • Anonymous says:

      It isn’t ourselves. It is our leadership.

      • Anonymous says:

        4:23pm, only when we get proper leadership/captain will our ship sail. The poorest there has ever been, floundering in the previous Norwester. The ship is sinking, we cannot wait until 2021.

  18. L.D. says:

    Ya got to love it. Dart does not make anyone buy single use plastic. Where is the logic. If you want to see who is to blame look in the mirror.

    • Anonymous says:

      Both sides are responsible, but the Dart side has made billions from being a poor citizen.

  19. Sandra says:


  20. Anonymous says:

    No need to enact a BAN. Simply double/triple/quadruple the import duty on such items. This will stop their use asap. Reduce the duty on the paper equivalents.

    • Anonymous says:

      It will be passed on the customers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who will not buy. Same result. Use stopped. For example, if a straw cost you 25 cents would you pay for one?

        • Anonymous says:

          You wouldn’t know. The cost of plastic bags would be hidden in the cost of products.

          • Anonymous says:

            Competition. The store that does not use the more expensive single use products will have less expensive products. Hence consumers will likely shop there more. Consumers do that now. We are all price careful. Any other excuses?

          • Anonymous says:

            The price isn’t hidden, 3:40. it just isn’t known, but if the total gets too high we won’t buy it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with this possible solution mentioned above. Quadruple the import duty on plastic items used in grocery stores and restaurants/bars and reduce duty on paper equivalents. That’ll do the trick!

    • Anonymous says:

      Reality: Driscoll’s doesn’t (yet) package any of their berries in paper, Badia don’t package their spices in cardboard and all of the detergents, cleansers, and solvents (that he privileged white kids seem to be unaware of) don’t come in recyclable tetra paks. There have to be workable cost-effective alternatives and genuine recycling efforts long before a premature consumer product ban.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good observation. Walk the aisle of any grocery store and check out the packaging. Ban plastic and you will ban a majority of the products you purchase every week from the store. There is a worldwide effort going on to find solutions and solutions are coming. Sounds great to say ban them all, but we need sustainable solutions instead of feel good sound bites.

        • Anonymous says:

          Banning single use plastic does not equal banning things that come in plastic. it’s just limiting things like those plastic bags you put one apple in… A little research goes along way.

          • Anonymous says:

            How is a plastic container of berries not “single use plastic”. Please enlighten us.

            • Anonymous says:

              It’s not one that is banned as it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do so for products not in our production. How do you not comprehend that?

            • Anonymous says:

              Precisely. As it happens, I use the berry container once. The plastic bags however, I reuse multiple times.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dude, it can take 2 weeks to clear “duty-free” goods from HM Customs – and you want to put them in charge of being the environmental police? This is the place were containers of illegal or banned goods come in all the time without question or hesitation. Look at all the illegally tinted-license plate covers that are shipped-in, cleared, and then sold in retail outlets with impunity. Avis seems to be running a whole fleet of Mini Mokes this season – one of only two vehicle types explicitly banned in the Traffic Law [§11(1)a]. Despite the ban, those were imported, cleared, and licensed for the road, presumably by the Director of Licensing. There is no inter-agency congruency or collaboration. Each government department is siloed in their own universe of budget freedom where the only commonality is a “not my job description” occupational mantra.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Always going to be a challenge to ban single use polystyrene in Cayman given Dart’s influence!

  22. Anonymous says:

    We pride ourselves in the Cayman Islands on how we are the most advanced place in the Caribbean. Why do we not ban single use plastic and polystyrene products like our Caribbean brothers?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because with live in DARTland….

    • Anonymous says:

      advanced?…a place where we can’t buy groceries on a sunday…????

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should we follow their emotional, feel good but worthless decisions?

      • Anonymous says:

        Recycle recycle recyle! People! Where do you think all this recycling we are trying to do goes?? To the infamous landfill! All together in one big load. We don’t have a recycling facility nor do we have a recycling program in place!

        • Anonymous says:

          No! Junk sends it off island! Do some research before you just decide to proclaim what you don’t know. We’ve been using them for years now and it’s been easy.

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