The South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) has praised Barbara Creecy’s decision to scrap the existing Section 28 plan for developing an Industry Waste Management Plan (IndWMP) for the paper and packaging industry.

Minister Creecy, who holds the Environment, Forestry & Fisheries (DEFF) portfolio, made her decision public late last year saying she would be starting an entirely new process under Section 18.

This would allow for an industry-managed plan as opposed to a government-managed plan.

Her announcement was immediately welcomed by the plastics and packaging industries of South Africa, represented by Packaging SA and Plastics SA.

Executive Director of Packaging SA, Shabeer Jhetam, commented: “Despite the fact that a considerable amount of time, money and effort have been invested to prepare and submit our Federation of Plans which represented the entire packaging industry, we believe the Minister has made the right decision.

“South Africa has managed to grow its recycling figures on a yearly basis over the past 10 years to become one of the world leaders in mechanical recycling. We are sending less material to landfill thanks to lightweighting and progress in developing a circular economy for each industry. A government-managed plan would have had the potential of nullifying these achievements and making it more difficult for these organisations to access the funds needed to fulfil their mandates,” he said.

SANBWA CEO, Charlotte Metcalf, concurred: “Packaging organisations such as Plastics SA, Polyco, PETCO, The Glass Recycling Company, MetPac-SA, Polystyrene Association of South Africa, South African Vinyls Association and Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa have – through their members’ commitment to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) helped create sustainable recycling industries and created many thousands of jobs. “Previous Government-led initiatives – Buyisa e-Bag and Redisa, for example – have failed and, while that’s not a guarantee that the Section 28 plan would go the same way, this is a vote of confidence in the industry’s ability to rise to the challenge of improving its already impressive waste management projects and systems.” 

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