REGULATORY CHANGE

Manufacturers face stiff waste management rules in proposed law

They will be forced to trace and recycle all waste from their products.

In Summary

•Products and packaging subject to extended producer responsibility compliance scheme include packaging materials.

•The move comes even as questions remain over how the ministry will enforce the law, with concerns over supervision and safety of business intelligence.

An aerial view of the industrial area in Nairobi on March 31, 2015. /FILE
An aerial view of the industrial area in Nairobi on March 31, 2015. /FILE

Manufacturing and packaging industries in Kenya will be tasked with cleaning up waste from their products after use by consumers, according to proposed regulations.

The Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Extended Producer Responsibility) Regulations, 2020, seeks to tie producers to their products' waste after consumers are done with them.

In the draft regulations by the Environment and Forestry ministry seen by the Star, the producer will be responsible for the post-consumer cycle of their products, which will include collection, sorting, and treatment for recycling or recovery.

 
 
 
 

Manufacturers will have to trace and recycle all waste coming from their factories. 

“The aim of the EPR is to enhance resource use efficiency, stimulate innovation, spur recycling and reduce the amount of waste destined for final disposal,” Environment PS Chris Kiptoo says in the notice.

Targeted include packaging materials, composites (based on paper), agricultural film, batteries, oils, metals, plastic products and glass.

Others are electrical and electronic equipment, furniture, graphic paper, mercury auto switches and thermostats, paints, pharmaceuticals products (including packaging), textiles tyres and vehicles.

The regulations apply to local producers and importers of goods consumed in Kenya.

Producers shall provide updated information on product quantities, recyclability and reusability, interpretation of packaging labels, market traceability mechanism, and any other prescribed information.

In developed countries, firms have long-term contracts of up to 25 years with recycling companies to make it economically viable.

Companies will be forced to obtain producer responsibility registration from the government to be allowed to produce, import, market, or distribute a product.

It will cost Sh5, 000 for individual compliance schemes and Sh10,000 for producer responsibility organisations to be licensed.

 
 

The ministry says the regulations will reduce pollution and environmental degradation, 

It says this will also ensure sustainable use of natural resources, promotion of circular economy, reduction of waste at source, promote environmentally friendly products’ designs and packaging and cleaner production processes.

The ministry says the regulations will also ensure the promotion of a culture of environmental consciousness and responsibility from production to safe disposal.

“Every producer shall bear extended producer responsibility obligation to reduce pollution and environmental impacts of the product that they introduce in the market,” Director for Environment, Education, and Public awareness at the ministry Ayub Macharia notes.

The public is expected to give feedback by June 5 but with the social distancing rule on Covid-19 forcing the ministry to proceed without public hearings or oral submission, this could limit public participation.