The recent ban on production, importation and use of plastic bags by the government together with the growing public awareness of plastics has provided a strong argument for brand owners and plastic bottle industry players to scale up collection and recycling in Kenya.
This comes amidst government intentions to restrict the use of plastic bottles, which industry players feel would be unnecessary and have adverse effects on the economy and social functioning of society as we know it today.
Sound environment supervision entails the use of waste reduction technologies in production, resource efficiency and recovering value from products in an effort to create a circular economy.
“All efforts to creating a litter-free nation cannot be undertaken in isolation. It is the responsibility of everybody who interacts with a product to manage it responsibly, hence manufacturers, retailers are investing in improving PET bottle management in Kenya,” added Mrs. Joyce Waweru, PETCO Country Program Manager.
The government’s restriction on the use of plastic bags has challenged brand owners and PET sector industry players on the need to come up with tangible collection and recycling projects that would mitigate the environmental harm caused by the current plastic disposal practices in Kenya.
“There is now a great opportunity for industry players to showcase what corporate responsibility really translates to beyond public relations to real tangible and transformational action and responsibility for what they put out”
Supporting and guiding the development of infrastructure to promote effective collection, processing and recycling of plastic bottles will not only improve the physical environment visually, but also improve the socio-economic aspects among plastic bottle collectors, aggregators and recyclers,” said Mrs. Waweru.
PETCO Kenya, the trading name of “The Kenya PET Recycling Company Limited” Kenya’s only registered producer responsibility organization and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) recently signed an agreement of cooperation on the management of PET bottles in Kenya. Brand owners, Retailers, Bottlers and Converters, through KAM and PETCO Kenya, agreed to jointly develop strategies and initiatives that will see a reduction of plastic waste by 70 percent by the year 2025.
Retailers and brand owners are uniquely positioned to drive this behavior change by encouraging consumers to recycle materials at the ‘end-of-life’ phase. The introduction of features in the current PET bottles to increase recyclability for instance clear bottles as opposed to the ones with a blue tint, the use of non-PVC polymer labels as well as the use of soluble adhesives for sticky labels could facilitate this.
“Raising awareness of the products made from recycled plastics would help stimulate demand and appetite for the adoption of redesign and manufacture products made from recycled PET and to encourage the development of local resin manufacturing,” said Mrs. Waweru.