St. Maarten Nature Foundation recommends the use of re-usable and biodegradable cups and plates in Carnival Village, as it decreases the output of litter and waste during Carnival.
POND ISLAND–On Tuesday afternoon, staff of St. Maarten Nature Foundation investigated the usage of single-use plastics at the booths in Carnival Village. All booths in Carnival Village that were open at the time of the investigation were found to provide drinks and food in single-use plastic items, such as Styrofoam food containers, plastic cups and cutlery and all booths had plastic straws available. A few booths were found to have some biodegradable and re-usable alternatives to provide food and drinks, however, none of the booths were found to be single-use plastic free, Nature Foundation stated.
Open Carnival booths were asked if they provided any biodegradable or re-usable alternative for single-use plastics and if plastic straws were given out with each drink, or only upon request.
“We were hoping to find a booth without single-use plastics. Unfortunately, all the booths had single-use plastic items available. Nevertheless, we were delighted to find that some booths do provide either drinks or food in biodegradable alternatives. We were also surprised to find the promotion of re-usable cups at some booths,” stated Nature Foundation’s projects officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
Nature Foundation recommends the usage of re-usable cups for parties and festivals as it decreases the “already enormous” litter and waste output created by Carnival.
“Therefore, make sure to take your own re-usable cup to Carnival and keep hold of it for refills. We would like to applaud the booths which decided to have some biodegradable items available and hope to find more environmental-friendly items next year,” Meijer zu Schlochtern said.
Nature Foundation said re-usable cups were found to be available by the purchase of certain drinks at booths numbers 18, 46, 48 and 76.
“If you receive a re-usable cup, make sure to hold on to it as it will give you a discount on your next drink at the same booth. Choosing re-usable items is always the most environmental-friendly way, as these items can be re-used many times, which reduce our waste output on the already overfull landfill,” the Foundation said.
A few booths were discovered to have either biodegradable or paper cups, such as booths number 6, 7, 40, 44 and 76.
“These cups put less of a burden to our environment as they do biodegrade, although some of them only do so under certain circumstances.”
Nature Foundation located large amounts of waste littered around Carnival Village.
The Foundation also located compostable, fibre and paper plates or food containers at Carnival Village. These plates and bowls are only distributed by booths 6, 13, 27, 44, 50, and 51 when customers eat at the booth, but not for take-out.
These biodegradable plates and food containers have a natural breakdown process and will not impact our environment and nature. Nature Foundation recommends booths, businesses and residents to choose environmental-friendly and to go for the food and drink package options which are either re-usable or biodegradable.
“Beside the single-use plastic inventory we also asked booths about their habits of providing plastic straws. Several booths stressed they only provide straws upon request. Plastic straws can have a large detrimental impact on our marine and wildlife. Therefore, we ask all Carnival goers to refuse plastic straws and bar tenders to only provide straws upon request. If we all contribute, we can decrease the single-use plastic output on our environment and keep St. Maarten cleaner,” explained Meijer zu Schlochtern.
All booths in Carnival Village received a Nature Foundation flyer explaining the impacts of single-use plastics on the (marine) environment and wildlife, showing steps how to decrease single-use plastics at their businesses.
Nature Foundation said it already located large amounts of single-use plastics littered around Carnival Village and stressed the importance of disposing trash responsibly in garbage bins.