The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has extended the grace period for usage of plastic carrier bags granted to selected chain stores that had applied for an extension in order to finish their old stocks.

In a statement, ZEMA acting Director General Simon Mwansa stated that the chain stores had been given two weeks in which to utilise their old stocks of non-compliant plastic bag carriers.

“The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) commenced enforcement of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations Statutory Instrument No. 65 of 2018 (‘the EPR Regulations’) in February, 2019. As part of this enforcement, the Agency has continued to engage industries that manufacture, distribute, import, trade in or commercially distribute packaging materials listed in the regulations,” Mwansa stated.

“ZEMA would like to inform stakeholders and the public that following the engagement and inspections carried out thus far, it has it has become apparent that some regulated entities have remaining stock, which would need to be disposed of. To this end, the Agency has had to deal with the situation on a case-by-case basis. Stakeholders and the public are hereby advised that based on the foregoing, the Agency has granted an extension to chain stores that applied for an extension to utilise the remaining stock of non-compliant plastic carrier and flat bags (i.e. plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags that are less than 30 microns in thickness). The extension covers Shoprite, Game Stores, Cheers Supermarket, Spar, Pick n Pay, Choppies and Food Lovers.”

And Mwansa stated that the registration for companies that manufacture and trade in packaging materials remained August 13, 2019.

“The listed chain stores have been granted an extension of two weeks for non-compliant plastic carrier bags and one month for non-compliant plastic flat bags. During the period of the extension, both non-compliant plastic bags and alternative bags are expected to be given to customers. The deadline for registration by existing businesses that manufacture, import, trade in or commercially distribute packaging materials in Zambia specified under the regulations remains 13th August, 2019. The affected packaging materials are: 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. Others are: used tyres, near end of life or end of life electrical and electronics and electrical and electronic equipment. ZEMA remains positive that implementation of the EPR will result in minimisation of waste and promote a cleaner and healthier environment in Zambia,” stated Mwansa.