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Amaraweera orders CEA to develop recycling scheme

By Thameenah Razeek – ceylontoday.lk

Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera has directed manufacturing firms and the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to develop a recycling programme for 750 ml plastic bottles.

The Ministry of Environment is currently concentrating on setting up a cooperative recycling factory with these plastic bottle manufacturing firms, as Sri Lanka’s Local Government Authorities lack such facilities. Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Environment is working on an alternative scheme to prevent 750 ml plastic bottles from entering the environment.

Because of the expense and durability of alternative packaging, the CEA believes that prohibiting plastic bottles is unrealistic. According to Amaraweera, a suggestion has been made to hold a particular amount of money as a deposit when purchasing 750 ml plastic bottles for recycling.

The deposit can be reclaimed by returning the empty bottle, and even if the empty bottle is thrown away, extra cash can be made by collecting and reselling such bottles.

“The deposit is now set at Rs 10. The plan has also been accepted by the companies involved,” he said. Amaraweera, on the other hand, said though no final decision has been made on the 750 ml bottles, a permanent recycling programme is expected to be developed.

Several similar goods have been banned by the Ministry of Environment as part of a drive to minimise the use of polythene and plastics in the country. A second list of polythene and plastic products has been compiled, to ban them in the near future.

“Many of these polythene and plastic products are prohibited because they are created from materials that are not environmentally benign and quickly biodegradable,” he said.

Despite the fact that 750 ml plastic bottles are included in the second suggested list for the ban, the CEA has stated that it will be difficult to implement. Therefore, the Authority has emphasised to the Minister the importance of implementing a bottle recycling scheme.

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Chandana Sesath Jayakody

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