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Labeling requirements for plastic imports

17 October 2022

Saint Lucia's Department of Sustainable Development reminds the general public of mandatory labelling requirements for plastic imports. As per the Styrofoam and Plastics Food Service Containers (Prohibition) Act No. 22 of 2019 and the amendment No. 8 of 2020, ALL permitted plastics being imported into Saint Lucia must be clearly labelled and accompanied by supporting documentation for identification by the Customs and Excise Department.

Plastic products are typically labeled with a number surrounded by the recycling symbol. These numbers and labels identify both the type of resin used to make the plastic and the product’s recyclability. Any plastic not accompanied by supporting documentation or appropriately labelled to confirm its composition will be detained.

This legislated intervention is part of the Government of Saint Lucia’s commitment to reduce the country’s dependence on single-use plastics through a phased approach. Since 2018, Government has successfully prohibited the importation, use, manufacturing, sale, and distribution of ALL Styrofoam and selected single-use plastic food service containers.

Single-use plastics that are prohibited in Saint Lucia bear the following labels: Polystyrene (PS), Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) (Styrofoam), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) food service containers.

Since the enactment of the legislation, the following measures have been added to ensure a smooth transition to more environmentally-friendly food service containers:

1. Importers of biodegradable, compostable, or plant-based food service containers prohibited by the Act are eligible for concessions of 0% import duties on food service containers that have gone through the pre-approval process provided by the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards. Pre-approval should be done before the purchase of the containers, as per Cabinet Conclusion 870 of 2020.

2. Meat processors engaging in the packaging of fresh, chilled, or frozen meat or fish are exempt from the ban on ‘disposable trays’. Approval for this exemption is obtained from the Ministry of Commerce, Manufacturing Business Development, Cooperative and Consumer Affairs, as per the External Trade (Restricted Imports) (Amendment) Order, Statutory Instrument No. 197 of 2021.

The Department of Sustainable Development appreciates the public’s continued cooperation and remains available to provide clarification where needed. The Styrofoam and Plastics Food Service Containers (Prohibition) Act No. 22 of 2019 and the 2020 Amendment is available for download here:

The Styrofoam and Plastics Food Service Containers(Prohibition) Act No. 22 of 2019 is available for download on the Saint Lucia Government Printery website.

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