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UD-Express
WWF welcomes new take on plastic pollution

THE World Wide Fund for Nature welcomes the publication of new regulations that will require producers to take responsibility for what happens to their products post-consumer as a significant step forward in addressing the plastic pollution crisis in South Africa.

The Department of the Environment Forestry and Fisheries gazetted regulations for a mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for the lighting, electrical and electronic equipment, and paper and packaging sectors.

These regulations extend the producer’s responsibility for their products and packaging to the end-of-life stage of their life cycle. This means that they will be responsible for collecting, sorting, refurbishing, reusing, recycling and/or disposing of their products and packaging in a sustainable manner.

The EPR scheme covers a range of packaging materials, including glass, metal, paper and plastic packaging, but also single-use plastics, including food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, tubs, cups and cutlery.

Lorren de Kock, Project Manager: Circular Plastics Economy with WWF South Africa, commented: “We also welcome the requirement that producers integrate informal waste reclaimers into the post-consumer collection value chain and to pay them for services rendered. The informal sector plays a critical role in collecting recyclable waste but continues to face numerous challenges. It is great to see their recognition and inclusion in the EPR regulations.

“However, while the regulations make producers responsible for their waste, it still requires you, the consumer, to play your part by avoiding unnecessary plastic, investing in reusable products and separating your recyclable waste so that it can be collected and recycled for a circular plastics economy.”

(ISSUED: WWF)

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