Barbados: Select plastic laws



A ban on import, distribution, sale and use of single use plastic containers, cutlery, straws in place now and a ban on import, manufacture, distribution, sale and use of plastic bags made with a petroleum based resin that will come into effect 1 January 2020. Id. at sec. 4.  There are exceptions to the ban listed in the First Schedule. The list of exceptions includes bags for garbage, medical use, preservation of food, and a few other uses.

The law allows the import, sale or use of single use plastic containers or cutlery that is labeled and sold as “environmentally sustainable” after receiving a license from the relevant Minister. Id. at sec. 7.

There are penalties under the Act including penalties for false or misleading claims related to the environmental sustainability of a product. Id. at sec. 9.

The law exempts all containers regulated under the Returnable Containers Act.

A distributor or dealer must obtain a permit from the Minister responsible for the Environment to sell at wholesale or retail beverages in sealed glass, metal, aluminium, steel or plastic bottles or cans less than one gallon in size. Id at sec. 3(1).

Any entity that sells beverages (for use off-site) in containers covered by the act, must accept any qualifying empty container and provide the refund value (found in the law’s Schedule). Id. at sec. 4(1). In turn, distributors must accept qualifying beverage containers of brands they distribute from retailers and refund the value of each container to the distributor. Id. at sec. 4(2). The distributors will make an additional payment to dealers and redemption centers as well (at least 20 percent of the refund value). Id. at sec. 4(3).

The Schedule currently sets refund value for glass containers at 20 cents and other containers at 10 cents. Id. at sec. 7

If beverage containers returned to the distributor are unusable or unused, they must be disposed of in accordance with Health Services (Collection and Disposal of Refuse) Regulations, 1975. Id. at sec. 6(1).

The Act includes fines of $500 or 3 months imprisonment or both for a first conviction and new fines and prison terms for “every day the offence continues after conviction is first obtained.” Id. at sec. 9.

Note: The Minister may exempt distributors or dealers from the law (if they have adequate recycling systems in place). Also, exceptions for containers intended for use outside Barbados, including airplanes and ships.