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Industry Waste Management Plan on the way for the Paper & Packaging Industry

Date Published: 03 March 2020
Published by: The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF)

At the time of withdrawing Section 28 notice, Creecy stated "I am of the view that a new approach is required in order to achieve the same objectives that were intended when this Section 28 notice process initially began. The new approach will be centred on the extended producer responsibility (EPR) principle and would take into consideration the comments received from the relevant industries that generates the waste."

Creecy intends to have further engagements with the industries producing waste on these EPR measures as outlined in Section 18(1) of the National Environmental Management Waste Act of 2008, and the new process will allow for an industrymanaged plan as opposed to a government-managed plan.

Shabeer Jhetam, Executive Director of Packaging SA, said that they welcomed the Minister's insight and decision. Despite the fact that they had invested a great deal of time, money and effort into submitting the plans on behalf of the entire packaging industry, they believe it to be the right move.

Jhetam added that “ Through our engagements with her over the past few months, we were able to introduce her to the excellent work done by the various packaging streams through their various Producer Responsibility Organisations, i.e.:

  • Polyco (Polyolefin material)
  • PETCO (Polyethylene terephthalate – PET)
  • The Glass Recycling Company (glass packaging)
  • MetPac-SA (Metal packaging)
  • Polystyrene Association of South Africa (High Impact and Expanded Polystyrene)
  • South African Vinyls Association (vinyl products)
  • Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (paper products)

These organisations are all industry funded and managed and are focussed on growing the collection and recycling of the various packaging streams in order to demonstrate their members' commitment to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). As a result of their consistent and concerted efforts South Africa has managed to grow its recycling figures on a yearly basis over the past 10 years to become one of the world leaders in mechanical recycling. We are sending less material to landfill thanks to light weighting and progress in developing a circular economy for each industry. A government-managed plan would have had the potential of nullifying these achievements and making it more difficult for these organisations to access the funds needed to fulfil their mandates." he says.

Commenting on behalf of the plastics industry, Plastics|SA's Executive, Director Anton Hanekom said, “We have always advocated for an industry-managed plan where the producers of packaging materials are held responsible for managing their waste through belonging to industry bodies that represent their interests and drive their own recycling and collection efforts. The failure of previous initiatives such as Buyisa e-Bag and Redisa triggered serious warning bells for us and highlighted the need for proper governance, transparency and credibility. For this reason, we agree that the industry be left in charge of their own funds and projects, albeit with very close cooperation and direct accountability to Government."

During a briefing meeting attended by industry role-players who submitted Industry Waste Management Plans, DEFF Director General Nosipho Ngcaba explained why none of the submitted industry plans were approved, and also advised that there are no funds available for a Government plan.

“A total of 13 industry plans were submitted to the Minister for consideration… throughout the entire process it has become abundantly clear that none of the plans meet the criteria of a Government Managed Model, and that a Section 28 plan is therefore no longer the best route to take." Ngcaba was reported as saying Ngcaba explained that a framework needed to be developed that would include clear targets for each sector, with quarterly and annual reporting, the minimisation of waste and encouragement of recycling. The first of these engagements will take place early in February 2020 and will require input in terms of a possible structure and future cooperation between industry and Government.

According to Hanekom the industry needs a tried and tested plan for collection and recycling of waste, one which will best serve the needs of the environment and the industry. “I look forward to providing our members with regular updates on opportunities for job creation by incorporating the informal sector, enabling access to better quality and quantities of recyclable waste by introducing household separation-at source nationally, and contributing to economic growth through unlocking new opportunities," he concludes.

For more information and updates on the process, visit 
www.packagingsa.co.za 
www.plasticsinfo.co.za