N Touch
Monday 27 January 2020
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Companies see no problem

Single-use plastic bottles banned in gov’t offices

THE decision to ban single-use plastic water bottles in government offices does not seem to be a problem for bottled water companies in TT.

Dominic Hadeed, managing director at Blue Waters, said yesterday Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s comments on the issue only seems to involve single-use plastic water bottles.

He said, while this may require some clarity, a ban on the use of these bottles in government offices will not have an adverse impact on the company.

He explained that Blue Waters also sells larger water coolers and filtration systems to its customers.

“If they choose not to drink water, then it affects us.” While he was not aware of the details of the proposed ban on styrofoam imports in the 2019-2020 budget, Hadeed said it “sounds consistent” with the trend taking place worldwide to ban styrofoam.

An official from Caribbean Spring said the company does not sell bottled water to government offices, so the ban will not affect it.

Two manufacturers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were not clear about the details of the styrofoam ban. They acknowledged, however, that the move to more environment-friendly products is taking place in several countries and TT had to be aware of this reality. One manufacturer said, “We’ll need to have more information before we can make a proper assessment.”

In his budget presentation in the House of Representatives on Monday, Imbert said the elimination of the use of styrofoam and single-use plastic bottles is in keeping with Government’s “stated goal of placing the environment at the centre of national development.”

As an initial step, Imbert proposed to “ban the importation of styrofoam for use in the food service industry and to require manufacturers of food containers to introduce additives to make their products biodegradable.

He said, “In order to encourage behavioural change, I propose to terminate the use of plastic water bottles in government offices and substitute them with coolers with filters.” This measure will take effect on January 1. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bridgid Annisette-George, announced on Monday that the Parliament has already banned the use of single-use plastic water bottles in its precincts.

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