It’s official! The government of Belize announced that effective January 15th, 2020 the phase-out plan to ban single-use plastics in Belize is officially under legislation. The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration, Hon. Godwin Hulse signed into law the Pollution from Plastics Regulations.
Way to go Belize! This nation has officially #ditchedplastic
The purpose of these regulations is to carry out Cabinet’s decision to reduce plastic and styrofoam pollution through the phasing out of single-use plastics, including shopping bags, styrofoam and plastic food utensils. This decision was made as a necessary pollution control measure to protect the terrestrial and marine environment from harmful plastic contamination.
These regulations have undergone months of legislative drafting and re-drafting, and have been subjected to an extensive consultation period with regulators and stakeholders from the private sector such as importers, manufacturers, and producers of single-use plastics.
This new legislation regulates the importation and manufacture of Restricted Products listed in Schedule I of the regulations through a licensing and permitting process through the Department of the Environment.
The legislation also prohibits the importation, manufacture, sale, and possession of Prohibited Products listed in Schedule II of the Regulations. This Prohibition will be conducted through a transitional process as follows:
(a) prohibit the importation of products listed in Schedule II three (3) months after the enactment date of this legislation;
(b) prohibit the manufacture of products listed in Schedule II six (6) months after the enactment date of this legislation;
(c) prohibit the sale of products listed in Schedule II nine (9) months after the enactment date of this legislation; and
(d) prohibit the possession of products listed in Schedule II twelve (12) months after the enactment date of this legislation.
The list of single-use plastic products to be prohibited as per Schedule II of the Environmental Protection (Pollution from Plastics) Regulations, 2020, is as follows:
- Single-use Styrofoam and plastic “clamshells”
- Single-use styrofoam and plastic plates, bowls, and cups and lids
- Single-use plastic forks, knives, spoons, sporks, and cutlery
- Single-use plastic carrier bags commonly referred to as shopping bags and/or T-shirt bags
- Single-use plastic drinking straws