Dept postpones implementation of EPR Regulations for the waste sector

19th January 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy has postponed the implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations to May 5.

This follows a request from affected producers to make further inputs into the implementation process.

The extension is to allow additional time for the registration, development and submission of EPR schemes. Producers will also be given an opportunity to comment on additional amendments, should these be necessary.

Given the extension for implementation, all existing producers, and producer responsibility organisations, will be required to register with the department before November 5.

The regulations give effect to Sections 18 and 69 of the Waste Act and apply to the electrical and electronic equipment, lighting and paper, packaging and some single-use product sectors. 

It outlines a new approach to waste management in South Africa and will contribute significantly to the diversion of waste from landfill, states the department.

The regulations are expected to contribute to an increase in the recycling, reduction, reuse and recovery rate, thus achieving one of the aims of the National Waste Management Strategy published last year.

It is also an opportunity for government to work closely with industries that produce varying amounts of waste to enhance the country’s capacity to recycle, thus expanding the circular economy, the department says.

As a means through which the manufacturers and importers of products are required to bear a significant degree of responsibility for the impact their products have on the environment, EPR ensures that those products are either recycled or up-cycled, and that waste products diverted to landfill are kept at a minimum.

This means that the producers of the products listed must develop and submit their EPR schemes or establish a producer responsibility organisation (PRO) that will prepare and submit an extended PRO scheme.