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Styrofoam, plastics and business opportunities


We congratulate the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines on the move to impose a ban on styrofoam products so widely used in the food industry here. In doing so, we are continuing a trend started within CARICOM by Guyana and then closer to home, Dominica in the OECS sub-region.

The popular and so very convenient white product has become a household item in restaurants, cafeterias and the many food-handling establishments all over the country. Unfortunately though, not all materials invented by man have the propensity to be recycled and this product has become a veritable nightmare, which finds itself all along our roadsides and rivers, where persons tend to indiscriminately dump them after use. But worse, is that styrofoam is non-biodegradable, so that even after we dispose of them into our landfills, they remain with us forever after use. The once common practice of burning only contributes to our pollution of the atmosphere.

Minister Camillo Gonsalves last week outlined details of the ban, which began on May 1st, though businesses have until January next year when the full-fledged ban on the serving of food in styrofoam containers.

It means that this Vincy Mas, which was officially launched on Saturday last, will be the last carnival festivity where the Vincentian public may be using this convenient inconvenience during this period of mass fast food sale and consumption.

With the ban comes an opportunity for enterprising businesses to take the opportunity to provide more environmentally friendly receptacles and already we note that local entrepreneurs are lining up to take advantage of what will be a certain market.

But while we deal with the styrofoam inconvenience, we must begin to look toward dealing with the issue of plastic bottles, which the burgeoning bottled water industry has thrown up. Now that the CWSA has been attempting to sensitize Grenadine residents toward the cost of garbage collection, it is about time too that we consider sorting out our garbage, so that we can begin true recycling of the plastic bottles, in which soft drinks and water are being sold, from biodegradable garbage.

Once again, while helping the environment, we would be creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs. It is often said that in the race for perfection there is no finish line and we must keep on improving.