In April 2021, the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), in consultation with relevant stakeholders, gazetted new amendments to the plastic bag regulations.

Post-consumer recyclate material

As of 7 April 2021, Plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags must be made from a minimum of:

  • 50% post-consumer recyclate from 1 January 2023
  • 75% of recycled materials from the start of 2025, and must comprise
  • 100% post-consumer recyclate from 1 January 2027.

These targets serve to impress the circular economy model onto producers and retailers alike (Read: Circular Economy Series Part 1: Why Circular Economies?). The post-consumer recyclate refers to material generated by households or commercial, industrial or institutional facilities, in their role as end-users of the product, which can no longer be used for its intended purpose.  It also includes returns of material from the distribution chain, as well as in-house scrap that already contains post-consumer recyclate content.

Post consumer waste

What about bio-degradable bags?

Whether its bio-based, biodegradable, or conventional plastic, all packaging types have to be sorted correctly and recycled accordingly. Further, compostable bags can only be processed at a specialised composting facility, where it is broken down in a strictly controlled environment by microbes. Such facilities are not readily available in South Africa.

How do we ensure the waste material ends up at recycling facilities and not in the oceans?

Through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy, producers are given financial and/or physical responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer goods. Set to be enforced by 05 May 2021 with the revised date for final compliance with regulations set for 05 November 2021, the onus is now on producers to ensure the diversion of post-consumer waste to recycling facilities. This is possible through an efficient and transparent waste management system.

Whilst this new piece of legislation is a great step forward towards the elimination of plastic waste from our environments, it has to be supported by an efficient and effective waste management system. Don’t Waste provides a unique and optimized technology which works symbiotically with waste management systems, providing an encompassing solution best fit to each organization’s operations. Our proven suite of tools accurately tracks and measures waste from points of collection, through to its final destinations, ensuring no seepages into the environment. 

It Is our view that significant focus should be on the EPR and associated infrastructure, in supporting the maximum recovery and recycling of plastic waste, which in turn, will drive economic growth through the creation of jobs, and of course, benefit the environment.

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Don’t Waste provides industry leading business intelligence, site management, and waste management services to Property, Retail, Commercial, Industrial and Hospitality industries. Our customers include the world’s leading property management groups.

To find out more about our innovative value-added systems and services in onsite waste operations, contact:

Linus Naik- Group Manager: Sustainability & Business Development (Email: linus@dontwastegroup.com I Mobile: +27 82 552 0675).

Michael Foreman- Managing Director UK (Email: michael@dontwastegroup.com I Mobile: +44 7939 027193).

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