Changes for producers as East African country is set to enforce EPR regulations

8 November 2021

With a growing population, and increased urbanisation and industrialisation, Kenya faced an acute increase in waste generation with a complexity of waste streams.

To overcome the devastating effect of this waste on the environment, Kenya established the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), under the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) No. 8 of 1999.

This was the principal instrument of Government for the implementation of all policies relating to the environment. Since then, several laws were enforced under this act, but extended producer responsibility (EPR) was only recently introduced.

In 2013, NEMA proposed the first draft of regulations that briefly included EPR. The regulations covered WEEE only and provided neither individual nor collective solutions.

The regulations obliged producers to pay for the costs of the operation of two licensed facilities which were undertaking e-waste management.

The regulations were not enforced but were mentioned again in the National Solid Waste Management Strategy of 2015. The Strategy had a plan to introduce EPR and public awareness campaigns for several waste streams in future policies.

The first EPR draft was proposed by NEMA in 2020 and covered three waste streams: packaging, batteries, and WEEE. The draft is yet to be published and enforced, but several reports from Kenya claim that it will be adopted soon. The draft encourages producers to join collective schemes rather than fulfilling their obligations individually.

Kenya is not only concerned about e-waste, batteries and packaging, but also single-use plastics.

In February 2017, NEMA released a notice that banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags for commercial use and household packaging.

Even though NEMA proposed draft legislation in November 2018 to regulate single-use plastic bags, this has still not been enforced and plastic carrier bags and flat bags are banned in Kenya but not regulated.

In addition to the activities of the authorities and NEMA, NGOs and the private sector have also launched many initiatives in Kenya.

In 2020, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) launched the Strategic Business Plan for the establishment of a Plastic Producer Responsibility Organization in Kenya.

This was followed recently by another initiative called The Kenya Plastics Pact, a collaborative multi-stakeholder platform established to help create a circular economy for plastics in Kenya.

Kenya is yet to enforce and regulate EPR, but the country has already undertaken a long journey of proposing waste management policies, trying to find the ideal approach. The combination of efforts by the authorities and the private sector will surely have positive impacts on the environment in Kenya.

If you need further information, then Landbell Group’s regulatory tracking service provides regulatory information (covering proposed and enforced legislation) for Kenya.

Find out more about the service here.