Plastics ban deferred

Saturday January 04, 2020 Written by Published in Environment
Rarotonga resident Vae Papatua with his shopping from the local convenience store last night. Papatua supports banning the use of single use plastics. 19060905 Rarotonga resident Vae Papatua with his shopping from the local convenience store last night. Papatua supports banning the use of single use plastics. 19060905

 

The ban on single-use plastics has been deferred to the next Parliamentary sitting scheduled for next month.

 

Initially the ban, which is included in the Solid and Hazardous Waste Bill, was supposed to be endorsed in Parliament last year.

However Water, Waste and Sanitation director Jaime Short, said they were unable to get the bill ready for the December sitting.

Short said they were “still to have the conversation regarding if we go all-plastic (banned) including bioplastics”.

“The ban is on a schedule in the Solid and Hazardous Waste Bill. We were trying to have it ready by December but unfortunately it could not be ready by then. We now have deferred it to February for the next Parliamentary sitting.”

Items to be banned include lightweight plastic bags including shopping bags, plastic straws and cocktail stirrers, plastic cutlery and plastic and polystyrene cups, including plastic-lined coffee cups.

Polystyrene containers, meat trays and cups, single-serve butter and spreads and products containing microbeads are also among the banned items listed in the proposed legislation.

Plastic containers with no Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) number or with numbers 3, 4, 5, and 7, including plastic plates and seal-able food containers will also be barred from use once the bill is passed into law.

In an earlier statement a Water, Waste and Sanitation spokesman said: “The importation of non-biodegradable consumer goods is becoming a mounting burden for the economy, human health and the environment of the Cook Islands.

“This burden is evidenced by the growing amount of non-biodegradable waste increasing at waste facilities, in dumps, littering roadsides and streams, being burnt and being washed into the ocean where it threatens oceanic life.”

Jaime Short earlier said the ban would significantly reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste entering the landfill.

At present, any recyclable plastic waste is collected by General Transport and baled, ready to be shipped to Malaysia. Non-recyclables are put into the landfill.

“The move to ban these products is due to the fact that they are non-biodegradable and are a threat to human health, and other living things if not managed properly,” Short said.

The ban had the full support of local companies, including major importers of single use plastics, such as major retailer CITC, she added.

The Cook Islands will become the eighth country in the Pacific island region to ban single use plastics.

According to Radio New Zealand, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Niue, Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand have already banned single used plastic bags and Papua New Guinea will join them at the end of this month.

Leave a comment