What you need to know:
- The Kenya Association of Manufacturers recently launched a Kenya Plastic Action Plan
- The banned plastic carrier bags are still in circulation in some parts of the country
- Kenya introduced hefty penalties
When Kenya banned the single-use plastic carrier bags, there was hope for a cleaner environment. But, despite the strides made, the country is yet to fully effect the ban due to lack of standards for alternatives.
Local manufacturers of single-use plastic products now want the government to speed up the guidelines for raw materials used in reusable bags.
Among those calling for the standards is Angela Shuma, a business development manager at NIA Cosmetics and Detergents, a subsidiary of Laminate Tube Industries, which offers packaging solutions to the local market. She said most manufacturers faced challenges in trying to shift to eco-friendly packaging for lack of standards.
“Most of us are in a catch-22 situation because the regulatory bodies have not provided the manufacturers with the set of standards on alternatives. Nobody would want to come up with packaging which will then be rejected in the market. That is a costly move,” said Shuma.
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) recently launched a Kenya Plastic Action Plan to enable a circular economy for environmentally sustainable use and recycling of plastics.
According to Bryan Cuthbert, the association’s chairperson the North Rift, the lobby was seeking a consensus on the development of standards for recycled products. “Standards for secondary raw materials and incentives for the use of these materials are important in achieving Kenya’s circular economy goals,” he said.
The National Environment Complaints Committee confirmed that there were no guidelines on materials for biodegradable products in the country. “Discussions involving various stakeholders including KAM and other regulatory bodies are ongoing on how to come up with the guidelines” said Dr John Chumo, the committee’s secretary.
The banned plastic carrier bags are still in circulation in some parts of the country despite introduction of hefty penalties.