Environmental advocacy organisation Break Free From Plastic says the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Amendments prioritise recycling schemes that have a poor record of dealing with plastic pollution instead of supporting systems to replace packaging including reuse and refill models.
“Implementing refillable and deposit systems systematically reduces the demand for products in packaging and is an effective way to stop plastic pollution at the source,” Break Free From Plastic African regional coordinator Niven Reddy says.
“We can see recycling as a false solution. The adopted amendments and those recently announced dealing with plastic bags make it conducive for the plastic and petrochemical industry to continue polluting the environment under the guise of supporting recycling,” Greenpeace Africa pan-African plastic project lead Angelo Louw notes.
“Our governments are supporting corporations’ greenwashing and attempts to monetise environmental conservation.
“Effective solutions, such as reuse and refill models, were only mentioned twice in the final amendments. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment needs to understand that its mandate is to protect the environment and keep us healthy for generations to come. They must not sell us short to greedy corporations that take more than they give,” Louw says.
“Incentivising people to bring their own containers, or return them once they have consumed the liquid contained in the bottles, is more effective, as the consumer is buying the product, not the packaging,” adds Reddy.
Greenpeace Africa and Break Free From Plastic led 4 000 individual submissions from the public following the public consultation process for the amendments.