South Africa implements mandatory EPR for plastics packaging from 5 May

Author: Matt Tudball


LONDON (ICIS)--Any company or brand that makes or imports any form of plastic packaging for distribution in South Africa will be required to pay an extended producer responsibility (EPR) fee per tonne from 5 May 2021.

Strict government targets have been set for annual collection and recycling over the next five years and the EPR will see investment in collection infrastructure in the country.

The country's trade group Plastics SA said the move is a pro-active response to the growing national concern around waste and its impact on society and the environment.

Existing producers must register with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries from 5 May and no later than 5 November 2021.

The size of the fee to be paid was not disclosed.

South Africa published the Section 18 Regulations to the National Environmental Management: Waste Act on 5 November 2020, which refers to the EPR aspect of the National Environmental Management Waste Act (NEMWA).

Helen McGeough, Senior Analyst, Plastics Recycling at ICIS said: “South Africa is a great example of collaboration between producers, regulators, collectors and recyclers in evolving infrastructure to achieve circularity of resources to the benefit of all parties.”

The country stands out as a leading model for the African region, if not other developing markets, McGeough added.

South Africa has four existing plastic recycling bodies that will be a key part in getting the industry ready for the scheme:

- PETCO - polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- Polyco - polyolefins: polypropylene (PP), high density, low density and linear low density polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE) and Multi-layer
- Polystyrene Association – polystyrene (PS)
- Southern African Vinyls Association – polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Click here to see the impact of packaging on the petrochemical industry on the ICIS Packaging Topic Page