Tests will be carried out on all alternative plastic products coming into Barbados.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, disclosed that his Ministry would be consistently testing plastic products entering the island to ensure that importers followed the guidelines for what was allowed.
“There are certain things we don’t want to have. We have banned the polyethylene base and other polymers, so we are testing to see if it contains those. Any trace of it breaks the law,” he cautioned.
He was at the time speaking after a tour of COT Holdings Limited, where he viewed its manufacturing process of the Ecotogo biodegradable packaging containers.
The Minister explained that testing was an expensive process, and would be conducted through the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) and a regional body, as Government follows through on its commitment to no longer be associated as a country with petroleum-based products.
“We knew it was going to be a process, and as part of that process, we determined that there has to be an intensive period of testing for everything that comes into the country which we have already started.
“There are different containers coming at different stages, each of which we have to test. We are now waiting for results on some of the containers we are testing. We are also in consultation constantly with the BNSI to determine and fine tune the standards for the containers that are entering Barbados,” he said.
He added that amendments to the legislation should be enacted before April and would clearly identify the various codes which will determine the areas products fell under.
Mr. Humphrey said persons importing biodegradable containers would be required to get a licence from the Ministry of Commerce and would have to indicate all the components of “every single product” imported into Barbados.
While commending COT Holdings Limited for its innovation towards an eco-friendly solution, Mr. Humphrey said those containers would also be tested.
“If it is free of PFAs and any other products that we do not support, it would put us ahead of the game. I will throw this to the front of the line for testing to help place COT as a leading manufacturer of biodegradable containers in Barbados and the Caribbean,” he said.
In response, CEO of COT Holdings Limited, Nigel Worme assured the Minister that the company’s products were complying with the law, noting that they were made from recycled board with a grease guard coating, which met the highest European standard for direct food contact.
He said the product is also biodegradable and compostable under the right conditions.