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Nov 8, 2019

Plastic and Styrofoam Ban Take Center Stage at Film Festival

As you may know by now, last March the Department of Environment announced that a phase-out of single use plastics and styrofoam. Once that phase out is over, there will be no importation of items and if you are found with those items in your possession you can be charged. As we’ve reported over the past year, there are alternatives to plastics and styrofoam in Belize. There are a growing number of businesses producing or importing biodegradables. The conversation of single use plastic and styrofoam ban legislation took center centre stage on Thursday night at the Bliss for the film festival week. The festival featured environmental and conservation films and to extend that conversation, they held a panel discussion called Green Globe ‘Fostering a Green Belize in the twenty-first century.’ Among the topics discussed were stony coral tissue loss disease, sargassum and single use plastic and styrofoam ban.  Here’s a snippet of the conversation with businesses working with biodegradables and the challenges they face in the business.


Luis Garcia

Luis Garcia, General Manager, Eco-friendly Solutions

“Price is pretty much one of the main factors. There is no way that we can present a product in the market that would be cheaper than styrofoam. We looked around and there are many alternatives but we will not be able to compete, so that is one of the issues. Another one, hopefully whenever the new regulations is passed in Belize, that we will also be getting at least a tax break in the importation or other incentives because at this time, for example, importing biodegradables we pay a higher duty than styrofoam pays. Some of the styrofoam products are zero rated and biodegradable disposables pay up to twenty percent.”


Benjamin Lo

Benjamin Lo, Director, Natureplast

“The biggest barrier to what I do is really the size of the market right, because Belize with a small population like this, to be honest, my manufacturing facility doesn’t support or won’t make sense for what I do, because it won’t be enough and my machines need to work twenty-four hours a day to justify its investment return. There is no way in Belize, especially right now but that is the reason I do what I do. I think you should look at a broader market. For me, I look at Mexico as one of my biggest market and being a hundred and twenty million people, if even one percent of these people use biodegradable that would way exceed what my capacity would do.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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