As a large importer of disposable items in Belize, my business enterprise is being affected by the decision of GOB to ban single-use plastics in the country. I can only imagine how the owners of the factories that produce these items in Belize feel.
GOB will also feel the heavy loss in duties and taxes.
Plastics are an integral part of society. Why? Because they are very useful and very cheap. As in everything else, every action has a reaction. Plenty usage begets plenty waste. Nature’s way of dealing with this is by the continuous cycle of one being’s waste being another being’s food.
This is a global problem and banning these products only in Belize is not even a drop in the bucket, but it will affect our economy by forcing people to use more expensive alternatives.
Our neighbor Mexico, a much larger producer and consumer, is addressing the problem by demanding the recycling of plastic. By law they must contain a certain percentage of recycled materials, in their production. Most of their products are already mostly recycled material.
Belize wants to go biodegradable and compostable. Biodegradable plastics turn to micro plastics, which cannot be recycled and are more detrimental to the planet in the longer run.
Compostables need proper waste treatment, which I do not see my little country ready for.
My humble solution would be that we collect our plastic debris and sell or ship it to Mexico, even if at a cost. That is why we have an Environmental Tax.
Enforcing the littering laws and fining persons breaking them would also help cover the cost. The Northern Highway is saturated with garbage left on the roadsides by “nasty” people who refuse to take it to a dumpsite.
We have to consider the planet, consumers, businesses, and governmental effects before we rush into anything which we think is good, but can turn out harsh for everyone concerned.
cc DOE, Beltraide