Businesses reporting heavy losses with reusable bags, utensils

Some plastic retailers and manufacturers are facing thousands of dollars in losses.

They are reporting the issue is with some of the compostable material they import for sale.

Manager at Direct Packing, Vernolyn Mitchell, and Shelly Lashley, of SFM Distributors, both said they were experiencing challenges selling their reusable bags and utensils, particularly those that were made using cornstarch.

“I have about $40 000 in goods to dump. That’s a whole pallet of bags and over 400 cases of forks that crumbled like biscuits. They are not holding the goods and the customers refuse to buy them . . . so right now they are no good. The Government needs to review this altogether,” Mitchell said.

Lashley shared a similar experience with cornstarch items which she said were unable to withstand the heat.

“The compostable material which is largely cornstarch-based is very susceptible to heat. We are in the tropics and the [temperature] is getting [hotter].

“The majority of the stuff comes out of Asia, so you are usually dealing with a two- to three-month transit time between manufacturing and delivery. I had a container sitting in Jamaica over the last quarter in 2023. It had compostable materials in it . . . you have paid and I am not exaggerating, $96 000 and they are sometimes breaking down or you have a very short span to use them,” Lashley added.

She said some of the alternative items were not durable and had strong odours.

“It is not a sturdy material so when you put stuff in it, it stretches like crazy and customers complain. The supermarket [cashiers] complain about the smell because they have a strong [distinctive] odour. Some people can tolerate it, some can’t, so right now I have hundreds of cases in our warehouse that have to be sent to the dump,” she added.

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