The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries published, on 5 November 2020, in terms of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008:
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations, 2020;
- EPR Scheme For The Electrical And Electronic Equipment Sector;
- EPR Scheme For The Lighting Sector; and
- EPR Scheme For Paper, Packaging And Some Single Use Products.
The new EPR Regulations and the Three Schemes that have been published apply extensively to clients that are involved in producing and importing "electrical and electronic equipment", "lighting equipment", "biodegradable plastic", "compostable plastic", "packaging", "paper" and "single-use plastics", which are all defined terms. Examples of specified products include large, medium and small equipment (fridges, cell phones, decoders); certain batteries; an array of lighting products (gas, UV, LED etc.); and an array of paper & paper packaging material; plastic packaging; biodegradable and compostable packaging; single-use plastic products (including if compostable or biodegradable); glass packaging and metal packaging.
Immediate obligations include:
- Strict registration requirements of all producers (including importers) of products as mentioned in the laws;
- Establishing and implementing an EPR scheme for each product or for categories of products - this can be done individually, jointly or through an EPR organisation; and
- Payment of EPR fees to the established scheme which will go towards the procurement of contractors to sort, collect, recover and recycle the waste produced by the producers.
Clients are advised to seek confirmation of the applicability of these laws to their businesses and may want to consider challenging aspects of the new regime which is far-reaching and onerous.