Ban On Expanded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) Articles

The Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) has formed an action group to address the problem of our ever growing landfill through proper waste management. The group has teamed up with the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority to build capacity, empower and educate the sector and our community partners about sustainable ecological business management practices that support sustainable tourism development. We are actively developing ways to reduce waste in our businesses, and sharing best practices among members.

By the means of this petition, we the undersigned call upon the Government of Grenada to ban the import, sale, distribution and possession of expanded polysterene (Styrofoam) articles on the islands. Articles banned should include but not be limited to cups, plates, trays, or clamshell containers of any size, made out of EPS as well as “packaging peanuts” used in loose fill packaging.

Styrofoam has become such an accepted everyday product that Grenadians often don’t stop to realize its negative environmental consequences. Polystyrene, which is trade under the name “Styrofoam” is a petroleum-based plastic. It gained popularity because it is lightweight, offers good insulation properties that keep products cold or hot, and keeps things safe during the shipping process without adding weight. Despite these conveniences, there are very serious health and environmental concerns in using these products.

Styrofoam is designed for convenient use for hours or even minutes; and yet, because it is not biodegradable, we will live with the remains in our environment for hundreds if not thousands of years. On a small island state like Grenada, this is not acceptable. Additionally, because styrofoam is lightweight it is easily blown or carried in water courses to the sea where it poisons marine life we depend on. Today, most styrofoam is made out of CFC-22 which is a greenhouse gas and destructive to the ozone layer. As a result, banning the use of Styrofoam, supports our Montreal protocol commitments. In addition, Styrene has been linked to severe health effects, such as chromosomal damage, cancer and pulmonary function among factory workers producing the product.

Worldwide Styrofoam articles have been banned and almost weekly a new community decides to no longer use this hazardous material: Miami Beach, Los Angeles County, Washington DC, recently New York City among many others. Countries like Haiti and Rwanda lead the way and imposed a ban in 2012 already. There are affordable alternatives available on the islands such as cardboard containers and cups as well as recyclable PET 1 plastic articles. A whole new local industry could be developed with organic packaging produced from “Bio-plastic” – sourced from Banana or Palm leaves etc.

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