On July 25, Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) staged a panel discussion on “Choking on Plastics II A Deposit Refund System for PET bottles”.

The moderator of the event Ms. Desiree Phillips, Research Officer, CAPRI said that Jamaica produces 1 million bottles a year, but only 10% are recycled.

The first presenter Dr. Suzanne Shaw, Director of Sustainability, CAPRI, proposed different methods like automated deposit machines.  She also said that for consumers to participate, the terms and conditions would have to be attractive enough – surveys done showed that they would be willing to travel no more than 5 minutes from home for no less than 5 dollars per bottle.

Mr. Francois Chalifour, Director of Marketing, WISYNCO, said he has 20 years experience in recycling and has had limited success.  He said that collection centres needed to be in schools and also reiterated Dr Shaw’s point about convenience.

Mr Rohan Brown, Managing Director, Jamaica Recycles, said that he had spent 8 years in the industry said that the price of plastics move with the price of oil since most plastics are made from oil.  Said that Government needed to take the lead. He mentioned deposit machines costing as high as US $100,000.

The floor was opened to the audience. Environmentalist Ms. Diana McCaulay said that a deposit scheme was first tried in 1998 and that some aspects had worked while others didn’t.