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CAPRI along with industry experts introduced the proposed Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles to the Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Andrew Holness, at a meeting that was held on January 28, 2019, at the Office of the Prime Minister.
The meeting opened with Minister Vaz, Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Land, The Environment, Climate Change and Investment – MEGJC, indicating that CAPRI has been heavily involved in the creation of the proposal based on its study, An Economic Assessment of a Deposit Refund Scheme for Jamaica. The deposit refund scheme will allow for the application of a deposit on plastic bottles placed on the market and a cash rebate to the consumer on the return of these bottles to designated redemption centres across the island.
Francois Chalifour, Director Marketing – Wisynco explained that currently only about 10 per cent of Jamaica's plastic bottles are collected for recycling; a really low percentage. He informed that participating members of the private sector have instituted a self-imposed cess of $1 per bottle, to start, which will see an initial private-sector investment of $850 million in the first year. Chalifour added that the funds raised during the initial stages of the DRS will be used to establish collection points, purchase trucks to increase collection capacity, and fund an expanded education campaign.
It was also shared that the industry will be appointing Dr Damien King, Executive Director – CAPRI as the Chairman of the Recycling Partner of Jamaica.
The meeting concluded with the Government charging the private-sector partners to ensure that the scheme is fully operationalised early in the 2019/2020 financial year; that the requisite infrastructure is in place to facilitate effective implementation, including the siting of redemption centres to allow for ease of return of bottles by consumers; and that a plastic bottle recovery rate of at least 85 per cent is achieved within the next four years of implementation.