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Ban on PET bottles, if recycling fails – Minister

Beverage companies given two weeks to fall in line:

The Environment Ministry instructed three major beverage companies to prepare a recycling programme in two weeks or else PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles will have to be banned.

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera on Tuesday (29) instructed three major ‘cola’ companies that manufacture soft drinks to formulate formal recycling programmes for their PET bottles within the next two weeks or they (PET bottles) will be banned.

The Minister gave them instructions during a discussion held with company representatives that manufacture soft drinks and market them in PET bottles on a large scale in the country, regarding the ban on PET bottles.

It was observed that all three companies had been using glass bottles to market their products since their inception.

However, at present all three companies are using plastic bottles to market their products. The representatives informed that these companies have already begun programmes to recycle plastic bottles.

However it was observed that it was not being done properly. It was also revealed during the discussion that at least 10 percent of the PET beverage bottles produced by these companies are not recycled.

Ministry Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe said the reason for this was that they did not have a definite plan to collect them and they have no proper system to recycling the PET bottles. Therefore, the Minister instructed that recycling should be regularized or plastic bottles should not be manufactured. The Environment Ministry has initiated a phased ban on plastics and polythene productions in line with government policy. Therefore, PET bottles have been added to the next list, but if a formal recycling programme is not proposed within two weeks, they will be banned, the minister said. “The government took steps to ban plastics and polythene not to punish such companies, but to deal with the enormous environmental and health damage. Although all companies have been informed to look for alternative products, no company has introduced an alternative product to plastics and polythene,” he said. “So the only option is to ban these products. The government’s challenging decision to ban chemical fertilizers has forced everyone to turn to organic farming. By next year, 90 percent of the country’s agriculture is targeted to use organic fertilizer. The Minister said that the ban on polythene and plastics would force the relevant manufacturers to look for alternatives. However, all three companies agreed to introduce an alternative programme for PET bottles within two weeks.

One of these companies is currently putting out soft drinks in 250 ml small plastic bottles. He has instructed them to stop production immediately. These small bottles are by no means recyclable. Therefore, the Minister requested that other companies not to put out 250 ml bottles.Central Environmental Authority officials also participated.

News Source

Chandana Sesath Jayakody

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