The Government Gazette has published amendments to the plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags Regulations for implementation.
The amended regulations were gazetted by Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy on 7 April in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, and the National Environmental Management: Waste Act.
The amendments emanate from the review of all policies affecting plastic bags in SA. This included inputs from stakeholders directly and indirectly affected by the policies.
The amendments focus on promoting circular economy and ensuring circularity by prescribing the design through setting minimum recycled content in phased manner starting 2023 until 2027.
The recycled content or “post-consumer recyclate” material is used in the manufacturing process informed by input material arising from waste generated by households or by commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities.
These amendments are enhancing the demand-side of waste management and would secure the necessary demand to drive the diversion of plastic waste from landfill.
The definition of “post-consumer recyclate” refers to material generated by households or commercial, industrial, or institutional facilities, in their role as end-users of the product no longer 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.
The amendment prohibits the manufacture, trade or commercial distribution of domestically produced or imported plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags, for use in SA, other than those
which comply with the compulsory specification for plastic carrier bags and flat bags.
As of the date of publication of the gazette, 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.
Any person who contravenes the regulations could face a fine not exceeding R5 million or five years’ imprisonment.
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