Companies

Industries back plastics recycling to ward off ban

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A dumpsite in Ngong town, Kajiado County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Manufacturers are supporting recycling of plastics in an effort to avoid ban on the use of the material for packaging consumer goods.
  • Kenya has been implementing increasingly stringent rules against use of plastics to protect the environment.
  • The ban on plastic carrier bags was recently followed by a prohibition on single-use plastics in protected areas including national parks, forests and beaches.

Manufacturers are supporting recycling of plastics in an effort to avoid ban on the use of the material for packaging consumer goods.

Kenya has been implementing increasingly stringent rules against use of plastics to protect the environment.

The ban on plastic carrier bags was recently followed by a prohibition on single-use plastics in protected areas including national parks, forests and beaches.

Plastics are, however, still allowed in packaging of consumer goods such as bread and soda and manufacturers say this can continue if recycling is stepped up.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) chairman Mucai Kunyiha launched the Plastic Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) that will champion collection of used plastic containers and oversee recycling efforts.

“Under the plan, PRO will accelerate collection and recycling simultaneously through creating value and markets for the recycled plastics. It will enhance development of a used plastics value chain while developing products designed for recyclability,” he said.

PRO members, drawn from manufacturers using plastic material as well as plastic material makers and importers as well as retailers must participate in facilitating collection of used plastic containers for onward delivery to recyclers.

Speaking during the launch, Netherlands ambassador to Kenya, Maarten Brouwer said KAM’s involvement in plastic waste management is important in driving the “greening” conversation from a corporate standpoint.

“To support these efforts, the government can give financial incentives, invest in research and development and encourage innovation. This shall encourage industries to be willing to learn, explore an experiment with various solutions that can be used to manage waste in the environment,” said the ambassador.

He said turning waste management challenges into new business opportunities creates new businesses, churns out new jobs and products thereby benefiting the local economy.

The director environmental education and awareness in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ayub Macharia, welcomed the development saying PRO will enhance plastic waste collection thereby mitigating challenges associated with littering especially in urban areas.