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GUYANA – All styrofoam imports banned from April

GEORGETOWN –– Importation of styrofoam will no longer be allowed, effective April 1, with the Ministry of Finance considering tax incentives for importers who are interested in bringing in alternatives.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment yesterday, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been asked not to process declarations for businesses desirous of importing styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) after March 31.


The ministry explained that following an announcement, last year, Guyana was prohibiting the importations effective January 1, it had granted a three-month waiver to importers of styrofoam food containers who had entered into transactions prior to January 1, 2016 –– the date when the prohibition kicked in.

The wavier expires on March 31; and to ensure the successful implementation, the ministry has requested that the Guyana Revenue Authority discontinue processing declarations for businesses desirous of importing styrofoam.

At the end of the waiver period, no importer will be allowed to clear any shipment of styrofoam food containers, the ministry made clear yesterday.

“To cushion the expected increase in cost of alternative products, the ministry has requested that tax incentives be considered by the Ministry of Finance.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is spearheading the prohibition.

Government has been arguing that styrofoam, highly popular in the food business as containers,

takes more than 500 years to biodegrade, and because of its lightweight nature can easily travel through gutters, storm drains, or in the wind, and reach the ocean.

It had been a major problem when the new administration took office last year and started a city clean-up. The drains and waterways were filled with boxes and cups.

“In the marine environment, polystyrene breaks down into smaller articles that are ingested by wildlife causing suffocation. Polystyrene contains toxic chemicals that leach into hot foods and beverages posing serious threats to human health, including respiratory illnesses and cancer.

In most cities and counties, polystyrene cannot be recycled and is never compostable,” EPA says on its website.

Polystyrene is not recyclable in Guyana, costing millions to clear from drains, alleyways, and roadways.

Government is hoping that the use of alternatives like paper plates and cups, will significantly reduce the garbage problem.

Key partners in the implementation of the ban include the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Institute of Applied Science and Technology, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards and the Private Sector Commission.

Currently, the regulations in prohibiting the importation, manufacture and sale of expanded polystyrene products shall be liable upon summary conviction to a fine of no less than $50,000.

In effect, no food service establishment can sell food using styrofoam boxes and containers.

Food service establishments found to be in contravention will be issued a written warning prohibiting the establishment from selling or providing food for consumption in the container or face summary jurisdiction proceedings and be liable upon summary conviction to a fine of no less than $100,000.

Source: (Kaieteur News)

14 Responses to GUYANA – All styrofoam imports banned from April

  1. Annette Oberheuser
    Annette Oberheuser March 10, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Telling you first hand….Guyana (Georgetown) is a mess

    • Karey March 15, 2016 at 4:55 am

      Telling you first hand, it’s undergoing quite the improvement as of recent.

  2. Margaret Daniel March 11, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Barbados should do the same.

  3. Charmaine St John March 11, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Barbados should ban Styrofoam as well it is bad for the world. We could be using Eco-friendly products. From egg boxes, to take-out containers, there are better products that are recyclable.

  4. Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah March 12, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Well done Guyana! Jamaica please copy!!!!!

  5. KarenD March 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Congratulation to Guyana. The first reaction will be one of negative but the long term effects will be superb. All Caricom nations should follow suit.

  6. Arlene Drakes March 14, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Barbados must do the same forthwith

  7. marcel guerra March 14, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Belize should follow too! Only chinese will suffer!

  8. Ava Weatherly March 14, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Agree Mrs. Blake Hannah. Jamaica definitely needs to do the same!!

  9. Lesley Desborough March 14, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Yes, well done Guyana for not just talking the talk but actually doing something about this blight on the world. Beautiful Barbados is also a mess with discarded styrofoam take-out boxes and cups, cans, bottles, you name it. At least some of the latter get recycled, unlike styrofoam which hangs around forever. We did have a company supplying all sorts of alternatives, such as boxes made with a cornstarch mixture which would biodegrade . Not sure if they are still operating though. Barbados government should sit up and take notice before this island is totally spoiled.

  10. Zalayhar Sankar March 15, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Tinidad needs to folkiw sùit.

  11. Neutrice March 17, 2016 at 11:22 am

    That is so good congratulations.Guyana. Grenada please take a page from their book. Don’t just talk get up and act

  12. Gillian Storey March 18, 2016 at 6:48 am

    This is such good news! I lived in Guyana 2003-4 and it was the place where I first got really bothered about Styrofoam, seeing how much it was used to package food, and knowing how it was going to last 100s years in the environment…. but most people I spoke to just didn’t think it was a problem. Great to see Guyana doing this now, well done, and I hope many other countries follow their great lead :-)!

  13. Vernon N. Clarke April 2, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    We here in Bermuda have adopted a policy of re-use, recycle & repair. The rest is recycled by burning in a high volume – high temperature incinerator. The heat is used to turn an electrical turbine and the electricity derived from this process is sold to the consumers. It is an ongoing (7 days a week operation) including: scrubbing the insides of the incinerators to exclude ash and other residues from entering into the atmosphere. A huge project at the start; but one we couldn’t have maintained our environment without.


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