Plastic Ban – how has it been affecting consumers?

Author : teriann

It’s been a year since the Government of Jamaica instituted the law that bans the use, importation, manufacture of specific categories of single use plastic bags and plastic drinking straws.

There is also a ban on the importation of expanded foam (Styrofoam). Anyone who drives past any gully across Kingston can clearly see where all those plastic bags used to end up so hopefully these new measures will assist in the efforts to keep our gullies clean.

Consumers soon got used to taking their bags with them when they went to the grocery store. Some stores created their own bags and offered it to consumers.  These bags ranged in prices from $150 to $200 and were made with recycled materials.
There were other options of using cardboard boxes or paper bags.  Some stores gave the paper bag for free while others charged a minimal fee of up to $30 per bag.


The increased cost of the recycled food containers are usually given as the reason why some businesses were slow to roll out alternatives containers for their customers. Some establishments even increased the prices of their food to absorb the cost of the new containers. The ones who were persistent in resisting change have had to pay fines for offering the ‘banned’ products to their customers.

Effect of ban on Consumers

The local manufacturers were still being allowed to produce Styrofoam containers however as of January 1, 2020, the ban extends to include local manufacture, distribution and use of expanded polystyrene foam products used in the food industry as well as the removal of straws attached to juice boxes.

This ban has affected consumers in different ways. Consumers have to be deliberate in their shopping trips as they have to ensure that they have their bags before they leave the house. It’s always better to take too many than too little. There are other concerns such as the sturdiness of the bags.

Some persons I asked said they did not like the material some of the straws were made from that were offered as replacements for their plastic counterpart. The straws tended to dissolve in the liquid after it was there for a short time. I think a solution to this would be to buy straws made out of sturdier material and keep them for multiple uses.

Most consumers have voiced their support as they like that they are doing their part to save the environment. Styrofoam is not recyclable or biodegradable which makes it hard to dispose of despite being so popular.

How do you feel about the plastic ban? How has it affected you?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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