St. Kitts And Nevis Checks Box For Ban Of Single-Use Plastics

Minister Dr. Clarke and Director Edmeade appeared on the April 10 edition of InFocus.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – The announced ban on single-use plastics in St. Kitts and Nevis will bring the twin-island Federation one step closer to becoming a sustainable island state, and is in keeping with previous actions taken by other member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Minister Dr. Clarke and Director Edmeade appeared on the April 10 edition of InFocus.

The details of the ban were outlined during a Sitting of the National Assembly on March 26, 2024, by the Minister of Environment and Climate Action, the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke. Dr. Clarke appeared on the April 10 edition of the radio and television programme InFocus and shared why this initiative, which started back in 2019, and gained momentum in 2022, is finally being implemented.

If not now, when?” asked Dr. Clarke. “That’s really the question at the ministry and it has been such a long time that we have been working on moving towards the ban of single-use plastics.” The minister acknowledged the work done prior to her assuming office and noted “If we are going to transition to a sustainable island state there are a number of checkboxes, and plastic pollution was one we had to deal with so now is the right time.”

Director of the Department of Environment, Derionne Edmeade, noted that numerous wide-ranging conversations were held with stakeholders prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to get retailers and importers prepared for the eventual ban. A similar exercise was repeated in 2022, after the government changed to ensure that persons were still on board.

One of the pushbacks we got coming into the department from meetings with various stakeholders … was there were no more consultations needed, just ban it!”

The ban speaks primarily to the manufacturing, commercial importation, and retail distribution of single-use plastics. The importation of T-shirt plastic shopping bags will be banned as of December 31, 2024, and sale and distribution as of March 31, 2025. Styrofoam containers, plastic straws and egg boxes will no longer be imported as of April 30, 2025, and sales of such ceased on July 31, 2025. The ban on importing plastic plates, cups and utensils comes into effect on August 31, 2025, and the ban on selling such takes effect on November 30, 2025.

Plastic bottles, hard plastics commonly used at home and local gatherings, trash bags, and plastic bags used to package bread, meat and other items are allowed and will not be impacted by the ban. Biodegradable plastic bags are also excluded from the ban.

The only bag [banned] is the shopping bag that we get from the supermarkets, restaurants, stores etc,” said Director Edmeade. “I heard a lot of stories, I don’t know if [some persons] are trying to put a scare in the atmosphere but I am here to try and calm people.”

Additional information about the ban of single-use plastics can be accessed from the social media of the Departments of Environment, St. Kitts. Persons can also telephone 465-8535 to request a copy of the media kit.

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