As South Africa continues to grow and develop towards an increasingly urbanised population,

so does consumerism and the demand for goods. Despite this being favourable for our economy, it exerts significant pressure on our environment, depletes our natural resources and causes damage to our ecosystems. 

Our government is addressing the growing concern around waste, and its impact on society and the environment, by publishing the Section 18 Regulations to the National Environmental Waste Act. The regulations call for producer responsibility organisations (PROs) to cooperate with municipalities to increase the recovery and recycling of products. 

This means that from 5 May 2021, any company that makes or imports any form of packaging for distribution in South Africa will be required to pay an extended producer responsibility (EPR) fee. Furthermore, producers will have the responsibility to identify how and where their product can be further extended to add value at the post-consumer stage.

In essence, the regulation makes it mandatory for the packaging manufacturers to become part of the PROs, to both belong to one and to contribute financially. South Africa is, however, well positioned for this new regulation as many voluntary industry-led EPR schemes have been running for several years. 

Some of these include: 
- PETCO - polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (https://petco.co.za
- Polyco - polyolefins: polypropylene (PP), high density, low density and linear low density polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE) and Multi-layer (https://www.polyco.co.za
- Polystyrene Association – polystyrene (PS) (https://polystyrenesa.co.za
- Southern African Vinyls Association – polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (http://savinyls.co.za

Each of these PROs collect EPR fees from their members and use the revenue they generate to support the collection, sorting and recycling of these materials by informal waste pickers, small and medium-sized collectors and large-scale mechanical recyclers. VIP is member of both PETCO and POLYCO and pays ERP fees. This means our customers are contributing to these PROs by purchasing our products. 

VIP fully supports the movement towards developing a circular economy within South Africa – where the value of waste is realised by keeping raw materials within the circular economy and ensuring that these materials are reused and recycled into new products. VIP welcomes this step forward to a more collaborative approach between the government and industry and look forward to continuing our efforts towards creating a greener and more environmentally friendly economy. 

For more information visit https://www.plasticsinfo.co.za/