The DFFE Regulations, which came into effect on the 5th of November 2021, extend a producer’s responsibility for its products to the end of its life cycle by collecting and recycling a stipulated percentage of the packaging it produces. This can be achieved through either establishing and implementing an EPR Scheme; joining one; or appointing a PRO to establish and implement one.
What do the Regulations state?
The Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations and the Notice published in terms of Section 18 of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 state:
Producers of identified products are required to join an existing EPR Scheme, establish and implement their own EPR Scheme, or join a PRO which has established and implemented an EPR Scheme.
Producers can accordingly establish and implement their own EPR Scheme. It is not mandatory for a producer to join a PRO.
An EPR Scheme must describe operationally how a producer will meet the requirements set forth in the Regulations and the applicable notice.
The requirements can be split into two categories being operational measured requirements and social and ethical requirements.
The operational and measured requirements include the collection and recycling targets, the recovery of identified products for beneficial use and the treatment of identified products.
The social and ethical requirements include integrating informal waste-reclaimers, implementing transformation within the service providers a producer has contracted with and prioritising the promotion of small businesses and entrepreneurs with a special focus on women, youth and persons living with disabilities.
To whom do the Reproplast regulations apply?
The Regulations apply to “producers” of “identified products”.
The Regulations define a producer as:
“any person or category of persons, including a brand owner, who is engaged in the commercial manufacture, conversion, refurbishment (where applicable) or import of new and/or used identified products by the Minister by Notice in the Government Gazette in terms of section 18(1) of the Act, and a producer includes, where relevant, the same as defined in the specific section 18 Notices for each of the identified products as gazetted by the Minister in terms of section 18(1) and (2) of the Act”.
The specific section 18 Notice defines a producer as:
“producer means the entity, person or category of persons identified by the Regulations as being responsible for extended producer responsibility in terms of Section 18. Producers who place in excess of 10 tonnes of identified products onto the market on an annual basis, responsible for extended producer responsibility under the regulations shall be identified subject to the following criteria:
a) In the case where branded goods, either are identified products or are sold accompanied by or within identified products and the registered owner of the brand operates an enterprise, domiciled in South Africa, that makes and/or sells such goods, the producer shall be the paper, packaging and single use product manufacturer, converter and/or the brand owner.
b) In the case where branded goods, either are identified products or are sold accompanied by or within identified products and the registered owner of the brand does not operate or have a controlling interest in an enterprise domiciled in South Africa, that makes and/or sells such goods, the producer shall be either –
I. the licensed agent of the branded goods; or
II. where no official agency agreement may be in place, the importer of the branded goods as depicted on the Bill of Lading.
c) In the case of all other identified products not covered by subparagraphs (I) and (ii) the producer shall be the retailer.”
Identified products – what are they?
The Minister has, in terms of Section 18, issued Notices which identify certain “identified products” in respect of which Extended Producer Responsibility measures must be implemented.
In the Notice applicable to paper and packaging products, the Minister has identified type 2, 4 and 5 polyolefin (rigid) packaging products as an “identified product”.
Accordingly, producers of type 2, 4 and 5 polyolefin (rigid) packaging products will be required to comply with the Regulations, and belong to an appropriate EPR Scheme which deals with these packaging products.
As leading producers of rigid polyolefin-based packaging for leading consumer brands in South Africa, our producers are responsible, compliant and ready for the challenge. In compliance with DFFE Regulations, we have formalised the Reproplast Collective EPR Scheme, which has been operational since 5 November 2021. The Founding Members believe this structure best achieves the purpose of the Regulations by facilitating compliance for our producers and their customers, and also paves the way for maximum environmental, social, and economic impact in the most efficient way.
The Scheme producers have been integrally involved in the development of the Regulations, and aim to:
work closely with the Regulator to achieve and exceed Government ideals;
identify and partner with Scheme participants which also seek to achieve these Government ideals; and
continue to observe, study and adopt international EPR best practice.
To find out more about the Regulations and what the Reproplast Collective EPR Scheme is doing to meet these requirements, visit our website.
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