THE Zambia Environmental Management Agency has conditionally extended the use of plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags for two weeks.
Acting director general Simon Mwanza said during the period of the extension, both non-compliant plastic bags and alternative bags are expected to be given to customers.
Mwanza said ZEMA commenced enforcement of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations Statutory Instrument No. 65 of 2018 (“the EPR Regulations”) in February 2019.
He said as part of the enforcement, the agency had continued to engage industries that manufacture, distribute, import, trade in or commercially distribute packaging materials listed in the regulations.
Mwanza said following that engagement and inspections carried out thus far, it had become apparent that some regulated entities have remaining stock, which would need to be disposed of.
He said the agency had had to deal with the situation on a case-by-case basis.
Mwanza said stakeholders and the public were advised that based on the foregoing, the agency had granted an extension to chain stores that applied for an extension to utilise the remaining stock of non-complaint plastic carrier and flat bags like plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags that are less than 30 micron in thickness.
He said the extension covers Shoprite, Game Stores, Cheers Supermarket, Spar, Pick n Pay, Choppies and Food Lovers.
Mwanza said the deadline for the registration by existing businesses that manufacture, import, trade in or commercially distribute packaging materials in Zambia specified under the Regulation remains August 13.
He said the affected packaging materials include cartons, non-returnable glass and plastic bottles, plastic carrier and flat bags, beverage cans, waste oils and lubricant containers, used lead acid batteries, pesticides and chemicals containers and expired chemicals.
Mwanza said others are used tyres, near end of life or end of life electrical and electronics and electrical and electronic equipment.
He said implementation of the EPR would result in minimisation of waste and promote a cleaner and healthier environment in Zambia.