The Caribbean Sea is the second most plastic-contaminated sea in the world after the Mediterranean Sea.  The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), in a report on the Status of Styrofoam and Plastic Bags in the Wider Caribbean (May 2019) estimates 600 – 1,414 plastic items per square kilometer in the Caribbean Sea.  In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of plastic pollution in the region, Caribbean governments have banned the importation of single-use plastic and Styrofoam in the respective countries. 

Since 2016, Caribbean the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago have implemented/announced bans on single-use plastic and Styrofoam. . While St. Lucia, Dominica and Trinidad & Tobago have restricted the ban to the importation of Styrofoam, others have gone further to include its manufacture, use and sale. Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and Jamaica have also banned the importation/ manufacture/use of single-use plastics such as bags, straws, cutlery, trays and containers.  

Legislative Ban by Country:

 

Antigua and Barbuda

2016: Ban on single use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers

2017: Ban on importation and use of food service containers including clamshell and hinge containers, hot dog containers, bowls, plates, and hot and cold beverage cups.

2018: Ban on importation and use of plastic utensils (spoons, forks and knives), straws, fruit trays, meat trays, vegetable trays and egg cartons. Exemption: Importation and use of “naked” Styrofoam coolers by airline carriers, private charters and large cruise liners.

Barbados

2019, April 1: Ban on the importation of:

  1. Petro-based, single-use plastic that is, products made from petroleum, such as single-use plastic cups; cutlery, including plastic knives, forks and spoons; stirrers; straws; plates;
  2. Styrofoam containers used in the culinary retail industry
  3. Egg trays (Styrofoam and plastic)

2019, July 1: Ban on the sale, retail and use of:

  1. Petro-based, single-use plastic that is, products made from petroleum, such as single-use plastic cups; cutlery, including plastic knives, forks and spoons; stirrers; straws; plates;
  2. Styrofoam containers used in the culinary retail industry 3. Egg trays (Styrofoam and plastic)

2020, Jan 1: Ban on:

  1. All petro-based plastic bags, with the exception of those used for the packaging of pharmaceuticals/medicines, hygiene and the preservation of food.
  2. Use of tetra pack straws, while poultry producers. Exemption: Plastic bottles used in the production of juices will not be subjected to the ban.

Dominica

2019, Jan 1: Ban on importation of the following non- biodegradable single use plastics: Lids, Cups, single-use Styrofoam/Plastic Containers, Disposable Plastic Cutlery, and Drinking Straws

Grenada

2018: Ban on importation of Styrofoam

2019: Feb 1: Ban on importation and manufacture of single-use plastic shopping bags with handles.

Mar 1: Ban on sale of Styrofoam

April 1: Ban on sale of food in or with Styrofoam

Dec 1: Ban on sale or offer for sale of single use handled plastic shopping bags with handles

Guyana

2016: Ban on use, manufacture, importation and distribution of all Styrofoam products, inclusive of cups, plates, egg cartons, meat and vegetable trays, hot and cold beverage cups

Jamaica

2019, Jan 1:

  1. Ban on importation, manufacturing, distribution, and use of all single-use plastic carrier bags with dimensions at or below 24 inches by 24 inches.
  2. Importation of polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) food and beverage containers.
  3. Ban on importation and manufacture of plastic drinking straws

2021, Jan 1: Ban on the local manufacture and distribution of polystyrene foam for use as finished goods in the food and beverage industry Exemptions: Single-use plastic bags utilized to maintain public health or food safety standards such as those used to package raw meats, flour, rice, sugar and baked goods such as bread.

Limited exemptions: Manufacture and importation of shopping bags made of polyethylene, the use of polystyrene for the packaging of food items such as raw meats, wax-lined paper straws or other non-plastic straws.

St. Lucia

2019, August 1:  Ban on importation of disposable trays, hinged take-away containers, bowls, cups, plates, cup lids, bowl lids and Styrofoam disposable plates.

2020, August 1:

  1. Ban on the importation of disposable forks, spoons, knives, straws, stirrers and egg cartons.
  2. Ban on the manufacture, use, distribution and sale of food in disposable trays, hinged take-away containers, bowls, cups, plates, cup lids and bowl lids.

2021, August 1: Ban on the manufacture, sale, use, distribution and sale of disposable forks, spoons, knives, straws, stirrers and egg cartons

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

2018: Ban on Styrofoam containers that are used to sell and package food and beverage

Trinidad and Tobago

2018: Ban on the importation of Styrofoam products