The Turks & Caicos Has Announced A Ban On Single Use Plastic Bags


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Turks and Caicos Government Press Release

The Office of the Premier wishes to remind the all citizens, residents and visitors that the government has approved the ban on plastic bags.

From April 15th 2019 persons will no longer be able to import single use plastic bags as defined by the ordinance entitled: Plastic and other Single Use Products (Use and Waste Management) Bill 2019.

The total ban will come into effect and prohibited from being imported, used, sold and distributed in Turks and Caicos Islands on May 1st 2019. Retailers and vendors are advised to use up remaining stock and seek alternative suppliers for their plastics bag alternative.

The ordinance describes a single use plastic bag as “(l) all single use carry out plastic bags whether biodegradable or non-biodegradable, with handles, which are provided to consumers at the point of sale.”

1) Plastic bags are one of the most visible signs of the pollution problem that extends across our islands. Plastic does not dissolve; it breaks into tiny pieces and stays there for up to 1,000 years, contaminating soil, waterways and oceans and entering the food web when eaten by animals.

2) The volume of trash in the islands is more than just an eyesore; it brings a myriad of environmental and public health issues. The pristine marine environment that surrounds TCI is threatened. The litter from the streets has both indirect and direct effects on the ecosystem. Marine organisms ingest toxins from the trash and these toxins make their way into the food chain, affecting multiple organisms.

3) Trash not only threatens the local eco-system, it can adversely affect the human population. Trash in the streets promotes disease and pestilence.

4) Plastics have a huge environmental cost, and this ban is one simple step we can take towards fixing it.

The importation ban on all single-use groceries plastic bags will be applied to all importers operating in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Ban on importation of plastic bags takes effect April 15, 2019 and affects grocery and convenience stores, retailers, pharmacies, restaurants, liquor stores, seasonal and temporary businesses, jewelry and household goods stores. All businesses that provide a checkout bag to customers at the point of sale, must be compliant with this Policy.

Banned plastic bags

1) All single use plastic bags used by retail establishment, restaurant or business that sells perishable or non-perishable goods including but not limited to clothing food, and personal items directly to the customer at the check stand, cash register point of sale or other point of department for transporting food or merchandises out of the establishment, except as provided in this policy.

Acceptable Bags:

1) Reusable bag or

2) recyclable paper bag

3) Recycled paper bag

4) Produce / vegetable bags (used in store for loose produce items)

5) Bags used by consumer to hold product to deliver such items to the point of sale or check-out area

6) Laundry or dry-cleaner bags

7) Newspaper bags

Bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, whether pre-packaged or not, to prevent or contain moisture Bags used to wrap hold or contain medical product, supplies or samples.

The Government has reduced the customs import duties to 10% on select tariff codes to reflect the alternative.