Johannesburg, 02 September 2020 — The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has called for public comment on amendments to plastic bag regulations which favour recycling, a false solution to the plastic pollution crisis. Greenpeace Africa is urging the public to join them in submitting comments to the Department’s Director General Pamela Nxumalo, calling for a complete ban on single-use plastic bags.
“While it is encouraging that the South African government recognises that we need to act on the plastic pollution crisis, recycling is a false solution and will not yield any tangible results. We need a mindset shift away from single-use culture if we are to solve it. Greenpeace Africa is calling for a complete ban on these products, since only 9% of all plastic ever created has been recycled,” said Angelo Louw, Plastics Lead for Greenpeace Africa.
Greenpeace Africa has created a platform which directs public support from their website directly to Nxumalo’s email. The call for comment allows for the organisation and supporters to engage the department in a meaningful and democratic way.
“We can only defeat the plastic monster together. It cannot be allowed to threaten all of our lives, and we cannot allow the plastic industry to continue to mislead the public into believing that consumers are at fault. Instead, we must recognise that our collective strength is the best way to force a complacent government into action,” continued Louw.
Last year, Greenpeace Africa’s Cape Town volunteer group hand-delivered a petition, which gathered over 11 000 signatures, to South Africa’s top four political parties ahead of national elections, asking them to take the proposal of a single-use plastic ban to Parliament. Despite commitment by all parties involved, the conversation has not led to any meaningful political action.
35 countries across the continent have either passed a law banning plastics and implemented it or have passed a law with the intention of implementation. Plastic bans in Kenya and Rwanda have had tremendous impacts on safeguarding the environment, according to a recent UN Environment report. Greenpeace Africa urges the South African government to follow suit and join other African countries leading in the global fight against plastic pollution.
Notes to the editor
 According to the currently proposed regulations, plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags must be made from a minimum of 50% post-consumer recyclate from January 1, 2023, 75% recycled materials from 2025 and must comprise 100% post-consumer recyclate from 2027. (Full document here)
 Greenpeace Africa’s platform can be accessed here.
 More information about the bans across the continent can be found here.
 UN Environment’s Single-use Plastics: A Roadmap For Sustainability report can be accessed here.
Chris Vlavianos, Greenpeace Africa Communications Officer, +2779 883 7036, [email protected]
PLASTIC MUST BE BANNED COMPLETELY. OUR POOR ANIMALS ARE INOSENT AND DO NOT KNOW. THEY ARTE EATING THE PLACTIS AND DYING, HAVING PLACTIC IS A DEATH SENTISE FOR ANILMAL AS A WHOLE. PLASTIC MUST BE BANNED WORLD WIDE
We agree fully with you. Single-use Plastic is world's pandemic.
Plastic pollutes. Recycling is a false solution. Please ban plastics.
Unfortunately, single-use plastic can not be recycled. This ban will help us protect our fragile environment.
If there is one person older than 10 years that up to now did not take note and comment on how plastic in all the uses there is for it polluted our country I will take it that that Person is mute. Please what must we do to make the government realise how big a problem it really is. Look at carry bags out of cotton this will provide jobs in the rural areas for growing the cotton , manufacturing will provide job opportunities and the effect on the environment will make my heart happy. To replace the other plastic used in many ways might ask for some really deep thinking but I know there is people who will do it come what may.
We need the ban of single-use plastic to be implemented.This will redirect people to green safer alternatives.
I cringe when i see shoppers still asking for plastic bags. I have even voiced my concern at times as they are so distuctive to the environment. PLEASE stop making them. There are other ways to carry your shopping. It is just selfish to continue using them. THEY MUST BE STOPPED
Single-use plastic is indeed disruptive.
Single-use plastic is disruptive.
Completely ban all single use plastic including Gladwrap and similar plastic that is not biodegradable. Recycling is NOT a solution. Plastic has and still is destroying our environment and killing our wildlife! Government must start by closing down all plastic bag manufacturers.
We fully agree with you on this.Plastic companies should switch from plastic to green alternative packaging.
I agree that plastic is a scourge, but what strategy does Greenpeace suggest for bag replacement, as I hear that cloth bags need 100 uses to offset their impact, and paper bags have a bad carbon footprint? Even bioplastics are a problem in the sea.
STOP PLASTIC WASTE
I agree that plastic is a scourge but what alternatives does Greenpeace suggest? I was reading that I need to use my fabric bag over 100 times to set off the impact, and am thinking the ones I buy from the supermarket are not always making it that long. Paper bags also have a high carbon footprint. At least they aren’t getting tangled up with animals.
For a lightweight, fold-up bag that fits in a handbag, cotton bags tend to be the most practical. Jute and hemp are both considered more environmentally friendly than cotton.
I support Greenpeace Africa in calling for a complete ban on single use plastics.
Together we can. Thank you for your support.