A landmark decision by the Government of Belize to ban the use, importation and sale of single-use plastics came in effect on Monday April 22nd coinciding with the world’s largest environmental movement, Earth Day. Belize now joins over thirty Caribbean countries in the region to discontinue the use of plastic cups, cutlery, stirrers, straws; plates, egg trays, and Styrofoam containers used in the culinary retail industry. Like many of these nations, Belize is a highly popular tourist destination, attracting over 1M visitors per year, meaning conservation is a priority both economically and environmentally.
In this light, our family of resorts comprising of Banyan Bay Suites, Grand Colony Island Villas, and Alaia Belize have vowed to phase out single-use plastics by exercising the greener approach. Managing Director at Alaia Belize, Andrew Ashcroft commented, “We are thrilled to be a part of this crusade and have transitioned from using plastics to paper based products. Continuing to attract guests is our priority as we seek to enhance our sustainable credentials and continue to be an environmentally friendly vacation destination.”
Leading by example and joining in with the local agencies and government is Pier 366 Seafood House, the signature restaurant of Banyan Bay Suites in Ambergris Caye. Chef Girard cultivates varietals of herbs, basil for vinaigrettes, cilantro, mint, and radishes for garnish on-site, but is also a friend/advocate of the environment. “A plastic bag, utensil, or takeaway container are used for only minutes and disposed of, and takes hundreds of years for the material to decompose, thus why we are leaving the detrimental plastic plague in the past,” ended Girard.
Plastic pollution has become the number one environmental issue for the entire globe. A 2017 assessment commissioned by the Department of the Environment found that over a three-year period, Belize annually imported over 200 million pieces of single use plastic bags and 52 million pieces of styrofoam & plastic food containers, and locally produced and manufactured an estimated 35 million single use plastic bags and 5 million pieces of styrofoam. This roughly equates to each Belizean citizen using on average eleven (11) single use plastic bags and three (3) pieces of styrofoam per week over a one-year period. Items to be phased-out are but not limited to; Styrofoam pellets, food Containers, Soup Containers, plates, cups, lids, straws carrier/shopping bags, cutlery, eating utensils, tumblers, just to name a few. Of note is that the ban is effective as of April 22nd 2019, with a one-year transition period to a total ban in 2020.
We’re proud to join in on this great environmental movement for the benefit of our oceans and future generations, are you?!
Notes: Details on this banning transition and enforcement dates will be provided once legislation is enacted.