Barbadians to pay 20 cents for plastic bags

A number of retailers have already pledged their support in principle for the “pay 20 cents per plastic bag” initiative which has been undertaken by the Future Centre Trust (FCT) in collaboration with BICO.

Those lending support include representatives of major umbrella bodies such as The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).

The non-partisan private sector led environmental initiative is being proposed to save the country from the dangers posed but the annual disposal of millions of plastic shopping bags.

Public Relations Officer of The FCT Kammie Holder says in 2008 over one million bags were used and this he says has a social and environmental impact on Barbados.

He says the disposal of millions of plastic bags is major both in terms of littering and also polluting the natural environment including our water resources, ocean and seafood with unhealthy toxins.

Speaking at a press conference held at BICO Headquarters Harbour Road, Holder said, “The agreement has been reached among members of the multi-sectorial grouping, including Barbados major retailers and supermarket chains, to introduce the charge on May 1st, 2017.”

The idea he said was to give both consumers and business sector a period of time to adjust to the new policy, which would allow for some exemptions including prescription medicines, uncooked meat products, unwrapped foods or those prone to leakage, live fish, and some others.

“Millions of plastic bags are discarded annually into our environment and the dangers posed to our health and the environment are well documented.

"In Barbados we are lagging behind several Caribbean countries and other international jurisdictions that have banned plastic shopping bags. We are proposing a six-month phasing in period before a charge will be levied by merchants in Barbados as a means of changing culture and resorting to a reusable bag solution,” Holder said.

Joanne Pooler General Manager of BICO, says they are happy to be on board and hope that corporate Barbados joins in and understand that, “We can rid Barbados of plastics.”