Rwanda: Are Producers Ready to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics?

15 October 2019
analysis

In July this year, parliament passed a draft law prohibiting the manufacture, importation, use and sale of single-use plastics.

The Government has now issued a three-month grace period for dealers in single-use plastics to phase them out while manufacturers were given a two-year grace period to have stopped producing the products.

Some manufacturers say they are ready to phase out the single-use plastic items while others have appealed for more time so they can secure partners to invest in alternative products.

Michael Johnson Kwizera, the Procurement Officer at Trust Industries, told The New Times that; "We are going to use plastics that can be recycled and other products that are not dangerous to the environment."

All products, including those made by Trust Industries, can be packaged in boxes and other environmental friendly products.

Alexis Nkundayesu, the Executive Director of SINA Gerald Enterprises Urwibutso, says that the company has begun the search for a partner to invest in plastic recycling.

"In the meantime, we are using cans and glass bottles," he told The New Times.

Nkundayesu, however, stressed that even glass bottles are not environment friendly and hence not the perfect solution to the challenge at hand.

Théoneste Ntagengerwa, the Spokesperson of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), said they are helping the affected industries cope with the ban.

"We help them to work with the Government and get waivers where possible," Ntagengerwa said.

According to him, it is possible for industries to get waivers on the use of single-use plastics depending on their nature of activities in the industry as some areas require the use of single use plastics.

"They need to have enough time to implement the ban in their production system and this includes various processes," Ntagengerwa said, adding that industries were given little time to start implementing the new law.

He said that while it was good to be environment friendly, there are several steps involved like making new investments, technical adjustments, and financing the implementation process.

The directive could the production, and hence hurt the profitability of manufacturers.

Alphonse Kwizera, the Assistant Executive Director of Rwanda Association of Manufacturers, said that even though the law is yet to be implemented, some industries will get waivers.

"There are some single-use plastics where it is hard to get substitutes like water bottles and the cans for yoghurt. These will get waivers and the law will provide a (grace) period of two years before the downright ban," Kwizera told The New Times.

The law on the ban of single-use plastics was gazetted last month.

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