The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) says it will commence the enforcement of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations on the 1st February 2019.
The EPR Regulations is a move towards environmental friendliness for all persons whose activities generate waste with potential to pollute the environment to employ measures essential to minimize waste through treatment, reclamation, re-use or recycling.
In a statement issued in Lusaka recently, ZEMA Head of Public Relations Irene Chipili said the regulation bans the use of plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags that are less than 30 microns in thickness.
The Agency has also established that those supplying plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags must cease to do so by mid February, 2019.
The regulations also demands for the registration of the affected packaging materials and conformity to the National Standard ZS 719 for plastic carrier bags and flat bags.
They have further called on new businesses that intend to manufacture, import or trade and commercially distribute packaging materials in Zambia covered under the regulations to register them at least one month prior to the commencement of their operations.
Meanwhile they have urged all providers requiring usage of plastic bags and flat bags to find means of providing their services without going against the Regulations.
“Alternative shopping bags maybe provided for free or at a fee, an alternative shopping bag meaning a carrier bag that is made from environmentally friendly materials designed to be used over a period of approximately one year, ” she said.
This comes after the announcement of the Enactment of the EPR Regulations, Statutory Instrument No.65 of 2018, (The EPR Regulations) by the Republic of Zambia through the ministry of Water Development Sanitation and Environmental Management in December 2018 to minimize waste.
“packaging materials and products regulated under the regulation include cartons, non-returnable glass, plastic bottles, plastic carrier bags and flat bags, beverage cans, waste oils and lubricant containers, used lead, batteries, pesticide and chemical containers and expired chemicals, others are used tyres, near end of life or end of life electrical and electronics and electrical and electronic equipment,” Mrs Chipili said.
However, the banning of the use, manufacture and trading, retail and importation and commercial distribution of plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags that are below 30 microns in thickness means more cost for those involved.