Belarus will ban all types of disposable plastic tableware in public catering facilities in 2023. Prior to this, a gradual transition period for business is planned.
The plans were made public by Belarus’ Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Aleksandr Korbut at a press conference on Monday, 17 February.
“As from 1 January 2021, only some types of such tableware will be banned. Enterprises will be given time to reorganize their manufacturing process. A total ban is expected to come into force in 2023,” he said.
As from 1 January 2021, Belarus will introduce a ban on the use and sale of disposable plastic tableware in public catering. The draft list includes containers, boxes, trays, lunch boxes, stirring rods, glasses, dishes, and cups.
“Around 200 million of disposable tableware is used in Belarus annually, including 70 million glasses, 23 million spoons, 20 million forks, 19 million knives, and other types of tableware,” Aleksandr the official stressed.
On 13 February, the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade issued a bill aimed at phasing out the use of polymer packaging and replacing it with the environmentally friendly one for public discussion and response.
War on plastic
Belarus decided to raise fees for manufacturers and suppliers organizing the collection of plastic packaging and utensils. Simply put, prices for goods in plastic packaging will rise. A possible increase in costs will be compensated by consumers, authorities explained earlier.
Another change concerns the waste collection system of paper and cardboard packaging. Recall that Alexander Lukashenko on 17 January signed a decree on improving the procedure for handling waste products and packaging.
The document, among other things, terminates the current restriction applying to manufacturers and suppliers who use their own waste collection system for paper and cardboard packaging.
The administrative and financial burden on business entities ensuring the waste collection will be reduced. Earlier the government was reportedly ready to consider financial incentives for an accelerated transition to paper packaging.
One of the incentives for manufacturers of green packaging is cheap loans. Authorities have previously adjusted the assortment list of goods that must be presented in shops. These included paper bags, disposable tableware and paper cutlery.
The requirement applies not only to shops but also to pavilions and gas stations. At the same time, the authorities reduced the minimum set of packages and disposable tableware made of plastic for trade.
Belarusian authorities also decided to increase the fee for the collection of plastic packaging and utensils for manufacturers and suppliers by 2 times – from BYN 180 (~$82, €76) per ton of plastic to BYN 360 (~$164, €150).
The move is expected to stimulate a business that uses non-environmentally friendly packaging to organize its collection. Recall that Belarus earlier adopted a directive about a gradual reduction of plastic packaging and its replacement with safe – glass and paper – packaging.