The Sunday Times recently published a story that claims plastic shopping bags are not recyclable. Now the Department of Environmental Affairs has launched an investigation to confirm or refute these claims.
Albi Modise, Head of Communications at the Department of environmental Affairs says South Africa took a bold step in 2004 when it introduced the plastic bag levy.
The idea was to reduce the amount of plastic litter but also to give the plastics longer shelf lives. The idea was also that they need to be durable for them to be reusable.— Albi Modise - Head of Communications, Department of environmental Affairs
Modise says progress has been made in terms of the plastic bag regulation over the years. He says there has also been development in how the environment sector responds to challenges.
Modise says part of the Waste Management Act calls for industry waste management plans.
Two to three years ago we introduced a tyre plan, that saw us placing a levy on old tyres that are retrieved from the environment to be recycled. The industry waste management plan as directed by the Waste Act is going to call for a similar regime in the plastic, paper and packaging sector and plastic is part of that.— Albi Modise - Head of Communications, Department of environmental Affairs
Modise says the department is concerned about the allegations made by the Sunday Times articles.
He says they are going to hold talks with the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications as well as The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
Our job as environmental affairs is to ensure that we have plastic bags that meet the requirements.— Albi Modise - Head of Communications, Department of environmental Affairs
Modise adds that the departments discussion with the regulators will ensure manufacturers of plastic bag carriers comply with the requirements and standards of their products as stated in the act and regulations that ushered in the pay at till points regime for plastic bags.
Listen to the full interview on plastic bag regulations in the audio below: