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September 23, 2018

Vague policies make investors shy away from plastics sector

some of the plastic bottles that have been disposed in a trailer outside pangani police station./ EZEKIEL AMINGÁ
some of the plastic bottles that have been disposed in a trailer outside pangani police station./ EZEKIEL AMINGÁ

Manufacturers have called for clear policies on recycling plastic bottles to attract investors in the plastics and rubber sectors.

Four months ago, the National Environment and Management Authority, Nema, reversed its decision to ban plastic bottles. The reversal followed an agreement with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers that plastics would be recycled and used in the construction industry and other sectors.

The association is committed to establishing collection points as well as educating Kenyans on proper disposal.

“We are asking the government to create a clear policy statement on how long we will have plastics, and what are the terms and use of plastics in the long term,” KAM vice chairperson Mucai Kunyiha said.

He said this will be a guarantee to investors willing to put their money in the market. He said currently it is uncertain if investors would have enough plastic to recycle if they invest their money in the business.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, says there are about 140 formal establishments in the plastics industry. The firms produce PVC pipes and fittings, packaging bags, plastic shoes, ,crates, bottles, floor tiles, household wares and containers.

Under KAM, there are about 100 companies under the plastics and rubber sector, with installed capacity of 360,000 tonnes plastic per annum.

The companies produce as much as 240,000 tonnes per year. Fifteen per cent of this accounts for the overall plastic packaging recycling rate. This amounts to about 38,000 tonnes of plastic packaging recycled per year.

RECYCLING FUNDS

The association has called on county governments to make it mandatory for businesses to have designated plastics bins in their premises. It also proposes scrapping of tax levied on trucks moving waste from one county government to the other.

Manufacturers also want Nema to draft regulations on management of Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes. The schemes provide for users, producers and main beneficiary of Polyethylene Terephthalate (Pet) bottles to collect funds to help in recycling.

The funds are passed on to the recently established PET recycling Company (Petco). It will coordinate initiatives to collect, sort and recycle Pet bottles and containers. Annual Pet production in the country is estimated at 36,000 tonnes.

The Pet waste management initiative aims at collecting 20 per cent of disposable and reusable bottles for recycling in 2018 and 70 per cent by 2030.

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