By Angwenyi Merck
PLASTIC BAN CLARIFICATIONS-ALTERNATIVES AND EXEMPTIONS
1. Category 1: Plastic carrier bags-
All bags in this category are banned. For clarity these are bags commonly known as “Juala” that are used as secondary packages for items in shops, markets etc. There is no contention in this category of banned plastic as there are NO EXEMPTIONS
2. Category 2: Flat bags
Flat bags used for carrying items outside industrial setting e.g. groceries, garbage, are banned. However, in this category EXEMPTION is extended for bags used for industrial primary packaging where the product is direct contact with the plastic and is done at the source. The exemption is subject to:
i. Extended Producer/User Responsibility and/or effective Take Back Schemes
ii. Legibly and permanently labeled bags to indicate the name of the industry manufacturing the product, the end-user and physical addresses for ease of monitoring, traceability and therefore ease of enforcement intervention.
iii. Keeping of inventory/record with the aim of implementing the take back scheme.
3. Category 3: Flat bags used as Garbage and hazardous (e.g. medical waste, chemicals etc.) waste liners
i. Hazardous waste liners are exempted so long as they are legibly and permanently labeled (as indicated in 2 ii above) and color-coded and are incinerated together with the waste.
ii. Garbage Liners are also exempted on condition that they are clearly labeled (as indicated in 2 ii above) and have demonstrated effective and efficient Extended Producer/User Responsibility and/or effective Take Back Schemes. The liners will NOT be dumped together with the waste but will be emptied and reused or recycled by the licensed waste collector and transporter (the end user).
4. Category 4: Duty Free shop bags
The ban applies to the use, manufacture and importation of the banned plastics within Kenya. Bags issued at Duty free shops at airports are exempted due to ICAO and IATA Rules and Regulations. However, any traveler coming into Kenya with duty free bags shall be required to leave the same at the point of entry points.
Following the above, the following guideline on the potential alternatives has been agreed with KEBs;
1. All bags made from non-plastic materials e.g. jute/sisal, Paper, cloth, Papyrus
2. Woven polypropylene plastic bags (gunny bags)
3. Non-woven polypropylene plastic bags (cloth-like bags)
4. Laminated polypropylene bags
5. Polyolefin fibre bags
6. 100% biodegradable bags (starch and cassava bags)
The 2 & 3 options are subject to the development of the standard by KEBs whose process has already started. The standard development will be based on the following parameters:-
• The specific material;
• Tensile Strength and;
• Basting Strength
• Toxicity of the material and its safety for use (Heavy metals will also be tested among others).