On Tuesday afternoon, the Nature Foundation staff investigated the usage of single-use plastics at the booths in Carnival Village. Open Carnival booths were asked if they provided any biodegradable or reusable alternative for single-use plastics and if plastic straws are given out with each drink or only upon request. All Carnival booths in Carnival Village are found to provide drinks and food in single-use plastic items, such as Styrofoam food containers, plastic cups and plastic cutlery and all booths have plastic straws available. A few booths were found to have some biodegradable and reusable alternatives to provide food and drinks in, however none of the booths were found to be single-use plastic free.
‘We were hoping to find a booth without single-use plastics; unfortunately all of the booths had single-use plastic items available. Nevertheless, we were delighted to find that some of the booths do provide either drinks or food in biodegradable alternatives; we were also surprised to find the promotion of reusable cups at some of the booths. The Nature Foundation recommends the usage of reusable 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 reusable cup to carnival and keep hold on it for refills. We would like to applaud the booths which decide to have some biodegradable items available and hope to find more environmental friendly items next year” stated Nature Foundations Projects Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
Reusable cups were found to be available by the purchase of certain drinks at the booth numbers 18, 46, 48 and 76, if you receive a reusable cup, make sure to hold on to it as it will give you a discount on your next drink at the same booth. Choosing reusable items is always the most environmental friendly way, as these items can be reused many times, which reduce our waste output on the already overfull landfill.
A few booths were discovered to have either biodegradable cups or papers cups, such as booth number 6, 7, 40, 44 and 76. These cups put less a burden to our environment as they do biodegrade, although some of them only do under certain circumstances. The Foundation also located compostable, fiber and paper plates or food containers to be present at carnival village, the plates and bowls are only distributed by booth 6, 13, 27, 44 and 50, 51 when customers are eating at the booth (not for takeout). These biodegradable plates and food containers have a natural breakdown process and will not impact our environment and nature. The Nature Foundation recommends booths, businesses and residents to choose environmental friendly and to go for the food and drink package options which are either reusable or biodegradable.
‘Beside the single-use plastic inventory we also asked booths about their habits of providing plastic straws, several booths stressed out that they only provided straws upon request. Plastic straws can have large detrimental impacts 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 Melanie.
All booths in carnival village also received a flyer from the Nature Foundation explaining the impacts of single-use plastics on our environment, marine and wildlife, and showing the steps how to decrease single-use plastics at their business. Nature Foundation already located large amounts of single-use plastics being littered around Carnival Village and stresses out the importance of disposing your trash responsible, which means in a garbage bin.