Local supermarkets have joined the fight against poor plastic waste management by partnering with the Government through the ‘Supermarket Plastic Recycling Scheme’.
These are among the most popular establishments where consumers purchase products packaged in single-use plastics, which are often improperly discarded in the environment.
The initiative, led by Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ), aims to provide Jamaicans with convenient options for the sustainable disposal of PET/PETE and HDPE plastic waste.
The programme entails the establishment of drop off points at high traffic supermarkets and wholesales across the country for recyclable plastic items.
In January 2021, Joong Supermarket in Portmore, St Catherine, and L&M Meats and Grocery in Runaway Bay, St Ann will become the second and third designated sites respectively under the programme, with additional outlets to come on board after.
Director of Environmental Management and Conservation at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Anthony McKenzie, says the project was piloted at Lee’s Food Fair from October 1 to November 30, 2020, which resulted in the collection of over 5,000 pounds of plastics.
He explains that the project, which is endorsed by NEPA, is intended to strengthen Jamaica’s capacity to implement integrated waste management activities and reduce and manage plastic marine litter.
“The initiative is also supported by Magna Rewards, which will incentivize persons who drop off PET/PETE and HDPE plastics weighing 10 pounds or more for recycling at each location for the first month of the programme.” shared Mr McKenzie.
Purchasers and consumers of products in PET bottles (for example water, juices, and sodas) will pay a surcharge or deposit which will be refunded to them when they return the product or its container to an approved centre for recycling and proper disposal.
Speaking during the inaugural Plastic Waste Management Conference recently, Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Pearnel Charles Jr, noted that this is consistent with the long-term National Development Plan – Vision 2030 Jamaica.
“As the nation prepares for the introduction of phase three of the ban on single-use plastics, come January 1, 2021, the Ministry is encouraging everyone to reduce, reuse recycle, and refuse plastics,” Minister Charles said.