SA Plastics Pact publishes first list of problematic and unnecessary plastics to phase out


The South African (SA) members of the Plastics Pact have published an initial list of problematic or unnecessary plastics to be phased out this year and next.

The SA Plastics Pact is a pre-competitive collaborative initiative that brings together key stakeholders in the local plastics value chain, including businesses, the South African government, Producer Responsibility Organizations (PRO), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs ) and other key players in the fight against plastic. waste and pollution at its source.

The members of SA Plastics Pact have set specific, ambitious and time-bound targets (end 2025) to address the design, production, use, recovery and recycling of plastic packaging in the country, including primary, secondary and tertiary formats.

The objectives are to take action against problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through disposal, redesign, innovation or alternative delivery models (reuse); that 100% of plastic packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025; that 70% of plastic packaging be recycled efficiently; and that there is an average recycled content of 30% in all plastic packaging.

The publication of the first phase of the Problematic or Unnecessary Plastics List, titled “Addressing Problematic or Unnecessary Plastics” represents an important step in progressing towards Goal 1 of the SA Plastics Compact, the organization said in a statement. release on September 9.

The publication defines “unnecessary plastic” as “plastic items that can be avoided (or replaced by a reuse model) while still maintaining their usefulness. They have limited social utility, for which no alternative is required, and which can be phased out without significant change in behavior or infrastructure ”.

It also defines problematic plastics as having characteristics such as plastics that are not reusable, recyclable (technically and / or economically non-recyclable) or compostable; plastics that contain, or the manufacturing process requires, hazardous chemicals that pose a significant risk to human health or the environment; plastics that hinder or disrupt the recyclability or compostability of other items; and plastics for which there is a high probability of being littered or ending up in the natural environment.

The publication lists the first group of plastics that members have pledged to phase out in 2021 and 2022. These include oxo-degradable plastics, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) bottles, pallet packaging and labels. , shrink sleeves in PVC or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) on PET. plastic bottles and stickers on fruits and vegetables, in addition to others.

“The publication of this list of problematic and unnecessary plastics is an important moment for the SA Plastics Pact. This shows what can be achieved through the focused collaborative action encouraged by the Plastics Pacts, ”said the head of international programs for the UK charity’s Waste & Resources Action Program (Wrap). David Roger.

He added that in the UK, members of the Plastics Pact have made significant progress in eliminating the initial target list of eight problematic and unnecessary items, resulting in a 40% reduction in these plastics since 2018. .

“We are continuing this work by identifying other items to be eliminated this year. At Wrap, we look forward to continuing to work with GreenCape and the signatories and supporters of the SA Plastics Pact to advance the circular plastics economy in South Africa, ”said Rogers.

By releasing this Phase 1 list of problematic and unnecessary plastics, the SA Plastics Pact became the fourth international pact to do so, joining the UK Plastics Pact, the Chilean Plastics Pact and the Portuguese Plastics Pact. .

The publication also lists the items identified for inclusion in a Phase 2 list, which must be published in due course.

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