S A Initiative to End Plastic Waste in the Environment

Never before has the issue of plastic pollution – and specifically plastics in our oceans – received so much public attention. During the last 2 years in particular, global initiatives such as the New Plastic Economy Global Commitments and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste were created with the aim of encouraging players in the global plastics industry to pledge their commitment to reducing plastic pollution in the oceans.

Whilst these efforts are commendable, they fail to address the unique challenges we face in South Africa with regard to waste management infrastructure, education and awareness. These are all issues that need to be addressed urgently and directly, and we cannot afford to wait 5 years for these international alliances eventually to shift their focus to South Africa.

The South African Initiative to End Plastic Pollution in the Environment

Recognising the need to develop a workable local plan that would fit the South African context and address our unique environmental, social, economic and political issues, the South African Initiative to End Plastic Pollution in the Environment was formed in 2019.

As part of this alliance, all players in the local plastics packaging value chain are represented, including the chemicals sector, polymer and/or raw material producers, importers, packaging converters, retailers, international and local brand owners, fast food franchises, producer responsibility organisations together with many other stakeholders, such as the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the United Nations Environment Programme. All members have committed to join forces and collaborate in order to have a positive impact on the environment by working towards the prevention, and ultimately the end, of plastic pollution in the environment.


References:

1. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Global commitment: A circular economy for plastic in which it never becomes waste [webpage on the Internet]. c2018[cited 2020 Mar 25]. Available from: https://www.newplasticseconomy.org/projects/global-commitment
2. Alliance to End Plastic Waste [webpage on the Internet]. c2019 [cited 2020 Mar 25]. Available from: https://endplasticwaste.org
3. Plastics SA. South African Initiative to end Plastic Pollution [webpage on the Internet]. c2019 [cited 2020 Mar 25]. Available from: https://www.plasticsinfo.co.za/2019/07/23/plastics-sa-announces-pollution-alliance/
4. South African Department of Environmental Affairs. South Africa state of waste report [document on the Internet]. c2018 [cited 2020 Mar 25].
Available from: http://sawic.environment.gov.za/documents/11132.pdf
5. Plastics SA. Plastics Recycling in SA [document on the Internet]. c2018
[cited 2020 Mar 25]. Available from: https://www.plasticsinfo.co.za/wpcontent/uploads/2019/12/Plastics-Recycling-in-SA-July-2018-Executive-Summary-final.pdf
6. South African Department of Environmental Affairs. Good Green Deeds campaign [webpage on the Internet]. c2019 [cited 2020 Mar 25]. Available from: https://www.environment.gov.za/event/deptactivity/goodgreendeeds
7. Withdrawal of The Section 28 Notice Calling for Paper and Packing Industry, Electrical and Electronic Industry and Lighting Industry Waste Management Plans in Terms of Section 28 of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 208 [document on the Internet]. c2019 [cited 2020 Mar 25]. Available from:https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201912/42909gon1659.pdf