Styrofoam ban in effect from month-end
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THE THREE-MONTH waiver on the importation of Styrofoam containers will end on March 31 with the ban taking full effect. The due date was reinforced when officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) met with representatives of importers of Styrofoam and alternative material food containers during a recent meeting.
During the meeting, it was explained that the waiver allowed for all import declarations for food-service Styrofoam containers, which were made prior to January 1, 2016, to be processed by the Customs and Excise Department of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
However, the ban is currently enforced with regard to the importation of Styrofoam food- service containers and Styrofoam materials for the purposes of manufacturing (molding) of food containers, but not on the use of food-service containers that are already in country.
“The EPA is currently preparing to conduct an audit of stocks of Styrofoam food-service containers imported and manufactured in the country to determine the quantity existing and the estimated period for consumption. This information will allow for determination of the effective date for full enforcement of the ban, including usage,” the EPA explained in a statement yesterday.
Currently,the use of Styrofoam food-service containers is not prohibited. “The ban on the importation and manufacture of Styrofoam applies to food containers, plates, hot and cold beverage cups, meat and vegetable trays, egg cartoons, and other products made of expanded polystyrene. It does not apply to pre-packaged food,” the EPA stated clearly.
Importers of bio-degradable food containers have long been asking for a tax reduction given the high price tag attached to these alternatives. In response,the Natural Resources Ministry said it had requested that tax incentives be considered by the Ministry of Finance.
Bio-degradable alternatives are made of 100% natural materials such as bagasse, paper, corn starch, and even mushroom, and are readily available throughout the country.

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