Government Gazette rules for a cleaner environment

environment-1080

Removing  one plastic straw at a time has become the symbol for saving our planet from the ravages of our excesses and our overuse of plastics and other products that are clogging up our rivers, seas and environment.

Government this month gazetted their new Waste Act, part of National Environment Management legislation with strict new recycling rules for everything from plastic, glass, paper to other products such as electronic and electric equipment, light bulbs and solar products as well as a range of metal products.

The new rules are aimed at drastically reducing the amount of waste that enters South Africa’s landfill sites through making sure that used products are returned and recycled again.

The new act puts the “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) on the manufacturers, distributors, and importers of a long list of products to be responsible for the entire value chain and through the prescribed life cycle assessment, be responsible for:

(i) reduction in the consumption of natural resources;

(ii) design of more environmentally friendly products;

(iii) waste prevention;

(iv) reduction of the volume of the resulting post- consumer waste stream; and
reduction of toxicity of the resulting post- consumer waste stream;

This means that producers must bear the responsibility of making sure that, after consumers have used their goods, the items are collected or returned and then re-used or recycled. The Act prescribes that producers must be registered with the department of forestry, fisheries and the environment, must submit regular audits about their schemes, and must pay an “extended producer responsibility fee”. The EPR Scheme will require producers to submit information about the “life cycle” of their products, reduce the consumption of natural resources, and show that products are designed to be more environmentally friendly.

The efforts of Government through this Act and with many retail stores and supermarkets doing away with harmful plastics and encouraging consumers to be more environmentally aware, there is hope that South Africa can lead the way to a cleaner and more sustainable planet.

FASA Franchise Association South Africa
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