Styrofoam ban postponed
Cabinet has delayed plans to ban the use of styrofoam containers by next week until the end of June.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's (M.N.R.E.) Chief Executive Officer, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, confirmed the postponement of the ban, previously scheduled to take effect on the last day of January, in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
The delay to the ban is designed to allow local companies to deplete any styrofoam products already in stock.
The M.N.R.E. had announced the importation, sale, distribution or manufacture of styrofoam plates, containers and cups would take effect from next Sunday.
Local business owners using styrofoam products have praised the move to extend the time they were given to comply with the ban.
According to Lesina Tima who owns a small shop in Vaiusu selling coffee and noodles using Styrofoam cups, the extension date will help her business earn some profit before June.
“I am very grateful to the Government for allowing us businesses use up our remaining stock before Styrofoam products are banned for good.
“Despite not struggling with finding alternatives we will try and cope with this new change.”
The Ministry's original notice said styrofoam alternatives had been identified and made available to businesses through local suppliers in time for the ban.
"All importers are reminded to make sure to take [the] utmost note of the effective date of the ban and the Ministry will strictly monitor [...] compliance," the notice read.
The ban - the Waste (Plastic Ban) Management Regulation - was officially endorsed by Cabinet in 2018 and complemented previous initiatives to reduce single-use plastic bags in Samoa to protect the country’s oceans and marine environment.
Failure to comply with the ban could result in a ban of up to $10,000.
Earlier in the year, local and small business owners appealed to the Government for more time to sell their remaining stock of styrofoam food containers and cups before the ban took place; others expressed concern that alternatives were more costly.