Use of any Styrofoam products is now prohibited in Samoa.
Samoa’s much-delayed ban on Styrofoam has finally come into effect, a year after it was due to commence.
The ban was initially meant to be introduced in January of last year, following on from a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags, packing bags and straws that came into force in 2019.
The new rules prohibit the importation, selling, distribution, use and manufacturing of styrofoam in Samoa, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will be monitoring compliance.
The ban has the backing of the Samoa Conservation Society President James Atherton.
“We’ve been waiting over a year for this ban to be implemented so this is good news.”
“It will have an impact because a lot of events in Samoa use Styrofoam plates during fa’alavelave,” he said.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment(MNRE) is encouraging the use of alternative products like paper-based food containers and cups, or woven coconut plates.
Officials are also considering banning more single-use plastic items, but have announced a consultation with the business community before any change.
Atherton says the styrofoam ban is a win, but it comes just after Coca Cola announced it is abandoning glass bottles in the country.
“No more soft drinks made here, now it’s all imported from Fiji and New Zealand using plastic.”
“According to the company these plastic bottles are recyclable but, the problem is that we don’t actually have any recycling in Samoa at the moment so, all those bottles need to be shipped off to New Zealand or Australia,” he said.
Atherton says this decision from a low environmental impact material like glass to plastic is a step backwards. “This only started a week ago and I’m already seeing plastic Coke and Sprite bottles littered so, it’s happening already,” he said.