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KAM says shortage of select commodities probable due to plastic bag ban

Among the contentious issues, manufacturers are seeking clarification on including the meaning of extended producer and user responsibility.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 29 – Kenya may soon face maize flour and salt shortage as manufacturers temporary suspend their packaging following the ban of plastic bags used in the country.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers says that plastic bag manufacturers of Industrial and non-industrial packaging have temporarily suspended their manufacturing and delivery operations following the recent ban on plastics.

Distribution and supply of fertilizer will also be disrupted because the flat plastic liners used in their packaging are affected by the ban.

“Manufacturers who manufacture for export are also affected and this will impact on export revenues,” KAM said in a statement.

The temporary halt in packaging is to enable these manufacturers to get clarification on the ban, the Association has said in a statement.

Among the contentious issues manufacturers are seeking clarification on including the meaning of extended producer and user responsibility as well as effective manufacturer and user take back schemes for manufacturers and customers.

The manufacturers are also seeking clarity on enforcement intervention and implementation for manufacturers and users.

Other areas of clarification include KEBS permit which expired on 28th August 2017, pending further notice and clearance letters as required from NEMA for both manufacturers and their users.

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) exempted domestic waste paper bags and disposal bags used in the handling of biomedical hazardous waste from the ban on plastic bags.

In a notice published by the Authority, plastic bags used for primary industrial packaging will also be exempt from the ban, meaning consumer products such as sugar, bread, milk, and salt will not be affected by the ban, as long as the products are packaged at source.

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“These bags must be clearly labeled (printed) the name of the industry manufacturing the product and the end-user,” reads the notice published on the regulator’s website.

However, NEMA has instructed all manufacturers, importers, and users of plastic bags used for industrial packaging to apply for a clearance letter if they wish to continue making or importing the plastic bags.

“The applicants shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Authority, an effective Take Back Schemes (TBS) and/or Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).”

Users holding plastic paper bags at home will have an opportunity to return the bags to select retailers who have initiated a recycling program.

The Director General of the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) Geoffrey Wahungu says Uchumi, Tuskys and Nakumatt Supermarkets have agreed on a take back scheme.

“Citizens can take back the polythene bags they are holding in their houses to the bins located in these retail chains. Not all paper bags will be amenable to recycling …the really dirty ones don’t make economic sense because it takes some cost to clean them,” Wahungu said during the flag off of NEMA’s enforcement team.

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