“Biodegradable and compostable plastics are newcomers to the SA plastics scene. They need to be properly researched and understood. If they are to have a place in our value chain they need to be regulated with appropriate registration and standards.” Barbara Creecy, Plastics Colloquium, Johannesburg, 22 November 2019.
The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy called the Plastics Colloquium to consider the effectiveness of recent or current initiatives to address the challenge of plastic pollution in South Africa. The lessons from the Colloquium will be used to assist in directing possible projects, programmes and policies that South Africa could take to address the plastic pollution problem at national level.
The emphasis of the event was recent research, awareness campaigns, international best practise and action in tackling plastic waste. The seven key areas that were discussed by working groups were: Product standards, Product design, Integration of the informal waste economy, Biodegradable and compostable plastics, Infrastructure and Consumer Education & Awareness.
The ORASA Chairperson, Melanie Ludwig, was given the opportunity to address the Biodegradable and Compostable Plastics working group on the challenges and opportunities around source separation and processing of compostable plastics. This is an area that is rapidly growing and the infrastructure to handle this waste needs to catch up so that these compostable products are not landfilled and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. ORASA hopes to continue the dialogue on how best to handle compostable plastics as a solution to plastics pollution