Packaging South Africa (PSA) has welcomed the Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA’s) acknowledgement that government has failed to develop competent waste management facilities and that municipalities are not able to implement waste removal infrastructure, nor exercise control over current pollution regulations.
PSA says one of its objectives is to address the minimisation of packaging and paper waste that is sent to landfill, through the support of material reduction, recycling, recovery and other related activities.
The organisation, which represents packaging converters and associated companies, envisions zero packaging and paper waste going to landfill.
The PSA supports the management of waste through the hierarchal approach, which is a recognised international model, offering a holistic approach and a systematic method for waste management that encompasses waste avoidance, reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, treatment and safe disposal as a last resort.
In pursuit of this approach, the PSA submitted its Extended Producer Responsibility Plan to the DEA early in September last year. This plan has a long-term vision, in line with the National Development Goals and global Sustainable Development Goals.
The PSA said in a statement on Tuesday that the plan takes cognisance of the global market forces that impact on the local paper and packaging markets through raw material imports and ready-filled and unfilled packaging imports.
PSA executive director Shabeer Jhetam noted that, once the plan is implemented, the target for collection/diversion rates for paper and packaging will increase to 66.9% within a five-year period, comparing well to the European Union’s target of 65% for all paper and packaging by 2025.
South Africa in 2017 collected 43% of glass tonnes manufactured, 75% of metal, 65% of paper and 45% of plastic, equating to a conversion average of 57.1%.
“We need government to approve the plan, municipalities to have efficient implementation plans and every individual and household in South Africa to take greater responsibility for the packaging waste they generate,” Jhetam averred.