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Plastic Carrier Bags Regulations Amended

April 9, 2021

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

Plastic Carrier Bags and Plastic Flat Bags Regulations have been amended.

The environment, forestry and fisheries department published the amendments in Government Gazette 44421 in terms of the National Environmental Management Act.

The Regulations were drawn up in terms of the Environment Conservation Act in 2003.

The amended Regulations were published for comment in August 2020.

A new definition on “post-consumer recyclate” is inserted into Regulation 1.

“Post-consumer recyclate means material generated by households or commercial, industrial or institutional facilities, in their role as end-users of the product, which can no longer be used for its intended purpose, and includes returns of material from the distribution chain, as well as in house scrap that already contains post-consumer recyclate content”.

A new Regulation 2 on prohibition of certain plastic bags is also inserted.

It stipulates that the manufacture, trade or commercial distribution of domestically produced or imported plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags for use within South Africa other than those which comply with the Compulsory Specification for Plastic Carrier Bags and Flat Bags – VC 8087 -2013 is prohibited.

The Regulation sets down the minimum post-consumer recyclate content to be used in plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags going forward.

From 1 January 2027, all plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags must be made from 100% post-consumer recyclate.

Non-compliance can result in a fine not exceeding R5 million or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 years, and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding R10 million or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years.

The amended Regulations came into effect on the date of publication.