Waste Management Regulations – Shedding Light on Responsible Waste Management

Paper & Packaging, Electrical & Electronics, and Lighting

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) published a notice, GNR 1353 in terms of section 28 (1) and section 31 of the National Environmental Management:Waste Act (NEMWA) (Act 59 of 2008) on 6 December 2017 to the paper & packaging, electrical & electronics, and lighting industries to prepare and submit Industry Waste Management Plans (IndWMPs) (reference: GN 1353 of 2017). The notice requires that all existing producers engaging with these materials must register with the Minister of Environmental Affairs by 6 February 2018. 

Is this relevant to your business?

According to the notice, a “producer” includes any person, business or brand owner who is engaged in the commercial manufacture, conversion, refurbishment or import of new and/or used paper and packaging material, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic equipment(s) or goods wrapped in primary or secondary packing material which are intended for distribution in South Africa. 

What does this mean for businesses?

Producers of these waste materials are required to do either of the following:

1.     Prepare and submit an IndWMP to the Minister for approval by 6 September 2018 or;

2.     Be part of or subscribe to an IndWMP compiled by a non-profit Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO).

It should be noted that the non-profit PRO must be registered as a non-profit company in terms of the relevant applicable legislation and must also register with the Minister (of the DEA) within 2 months after the date of establishment.

What should I do as a business?

The entity intending to submit an IndWMP to the Minister must ensure the plan goes through a consultation process with the relevant organs of state, interested and affected parties, and the public before the final plan is submitted to the Minister for consideration. The entity/PRO must consider all representations and objections before submitting the IndWMP to the Minister. Once the IndWMP has been approved by the Minister, producers must comply with the requirements of the IndWMP to which they have subscribed. 

How is this relevant to my business?

There are more specific waste streams such as fluorescent lighting tubes which are a major liability to companies handling and disposing of them. For example, a shopping centre has contracted an electrical company to replace their fluorescent lighting tubes; In 90% of cases these electrical companies are not aware of the correct storing and recycling of these tubes and in most cases there are no records to prove the responsible recycling of these tubes. This becomes a legal liability to both the electrical company and the shopping centre as the NEMWA (2008)  specifically states that the GENERATOR of waste is ultimately responsible for final disposal. They (the centre) have to check that the service provider is disposing of these used fluorescent lighting tubes in the correct manner. 

What if my business has missed the deadline?

This is a new regulation (December 2017) and has a specific deadline (6 September 2018) for industry (existing and new) to register with the department and to prepare and submit IndWMPs. Due to very broad definitions in the notice, almost all retail and other industries can be affected by the notice without realising. 

Partnering with EP3 Environmental allows us to assist your business with the registration requirements of this new regulation and preparing of your required IndWMPs.

Contact us to find out more: 082 881 8500 | info@ep3.co.zawww.ep3.co.za