Even though South Africa is leading other countries in its region in terms of waste management, it is still behind what the authorities desire to achieve, as currently only 34% of waste is recovered or recycled.
In 2009, this led the South African authorities to focus on improving the waste management sector with the implementation of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 which provided the basic legal framework for waste management in South Africa.
Since then, South Africa has put forward several drafts of legislation to implement extended producer responsibility (EPR). The latest drafts were proposed in June 2020 and subsequently enforced, after some adjustments, on 5th November 2020.
The EPR framework legislation – Regulations Regarding Extended Producer Responsibility – is supported by three other laws that oblige producers of paper, packaging and some single-use products, electrical and electronic equipment, and lighting equipment and batteries, to fulfil certain EPR obligations.
These four EPR regulations cover the registration of producers, EPR measures to be implemented by producers (for example, achievement of collection and recycling targets), minimum requirements and criteria for EPR schemes to operate, financial arrangements for EPR schemes, and reporting and evaluation.
Producers can fulfil their EPR obligations either individually or by joining a producer responsibility organization (PRO). Currently, there are eight industry-led PROs operating voluntarily in South Africa, mainly in the packaging waste stream. As regulated by the EPR legislation, each PRO must register with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries within 6 months.
Landbell Group, which has already shared its EPR experience and expertise with the South African authorities and industry, and organised workshops to exchange knowledge and best practice, is monitoring and analysing the development of EPR in South Africa.
The new EPR legislation is already included in Landbell Group’s Regulatory Tracking Reports, which capture the latest EPR developments and requirements in over 100 countries globally. Find out more about the reports here.