Plastic bag levy boosts local production

Consumers are learning the value of plastic after government intervention put a stop to free carrier bags handed out at shops.

20 November 2019 | Environment

AUGETTO GRAIG



Plastic bags litter Namibia and add to the negative impact of climate change currently laying waste to the economy. The government has increased the cost of plastic carrier bags in order to address this situation.

An environmental levy on plastic shopping bags was introduced by the ministry of finance on 1 October 2019, after an amendment of the regulations was published in the Government Gazette on 2 August. Previously no levy was charged on plastic bags, allowing shops to hand them out for free. Now 50 cents per bag must be collected from the customer. The money goes to the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF), which uses it to fund climate change resilience.

On 16 September the executive director of the ministry of finance, Ericah Shafudah, instructed “every importer, manufacturer or dealer, who on the implementation date has in his possession the goods concerned, which have not been cleared for home consumption, should take stock of such goods and declare them to customs, and pay the levy specified in the schedule.”

Now the levy is in place with the hope that it will change consumer behaviour and help Namibia better protect its fragile environment.

According to Nico du Plessis, the managing director of Plastic Packaging, a local manufacturer of plastic bags, sales of plastic bags have dropped significantly. He says the impact on costs is more than might seem obvious. “The levy imposed on carriers is more than the cost of one bag, subsequently increasing the cost of carriers by more than100%.”

Nevertheless Du Plessis attests that the change is positive.

“Being responsible in the usage of shopping bags would be the most significant factor that should be achieved by this levy. By paying for your shopping bags, a decision is taken daily to think whether the bag is really needed,” he says.

Plastic Packaging employs about 500 Namibians at three manufacturing plants and is a 100% Namibian-owned entity. With a state-of-the-art printer to be commissioned in its new extrusion hall, the business intends to increase recycling volume over 20% next year, while diversifying the range of commodities it recycles.

Johan Struwig, chief executive officer of Namibia Plastics, the other local manufacturer, wants an even bigger change in attitude towards plastic. “Plastic is our friend. There is a worldwide plastic economy and Namibia is taking its place in it. We are a player in this world,” he says.

Namibia Plastics provides 37 jobs. Struwig’s business partner Jan Duvenhage, who is the general manager of PolyNam, Namibia Plastics’ planned new N$100 million recycling plant, is just as excited about the “new plastics economy” that is developing in Namibia. The new plant will increase the company workforce to 109.

“Let’s make Namibia clean while we make money,” Duvenhage says.

Duvenhage elaborates on a circular economy featuring job creation, economic growth and social fairness. For this, Namibia needs transition strategies involving redesign and material innovation to encourage recycling and promote compostable alternatives.

“There is good technology now, allowing us to get the plastic back and to reuse it,” Duvenhage says. What is needed is a public procurement shift and relevant regulations to create demand, he believes.

The new levy is already helping with demand for locally manufactured plastic bags, Duvenhage says, as retailers are indirectly forced away from imports to save on costs.

“For us local manufacturers, it is like manna from heaven, thanks to the exposure and the volumes we can build, but for the client and the end user it is a different story,” he says, implying that costs are always passed on down the supply chain.

“We must keep the plastic in our economy. Informal waste collection contributed 37 000 jobs in South Africa last year. We can mine the dumpsites; the technology is there now.”

According to him the growth opportunities lie in the secondary market, for which Namibia has the added advantages of infrastructure, good roads and a functioning harbour. Namibia Plastics already exports about 15% of its production, and hopes to increase that to 30% next year, he says.

“We can show the world that we can set the standard for Africa here from Namibia,” Duvenhage says.

Similar News

 

Conservation fee coming next year

6 days ago - 28 July 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe environment ministry will introduce a conservation fee next year that will be paid by all visitors to national parks in addition to the...

Securing a poaching scene

1 week ago - 27 July 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK Intelligence Support Against Poaching (ISAP) recently held a course on how to handle a poaching scene correctly. ...

Namibia's trade in live elephants 2nd in Africa

1 week ago - 23 July 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK The second highest number of live elephant exports in Africa comes from Namibia. However, the problematic interpretation of...

Ondangwa is afraid of birds

2 weeks ago - 16 July 2020 | Environment

ILENI NANDJATOONDANGWAThe Ondangwa town council is afraid that a large group of cattle egrets converging at a park in town might be dangerous to people.The...

KAZA elephants could be dying of stress - Shifeta

2 weeks ago - 14 July 2020 | Environment

ILENI NANDJATOONDANGWAEnvironment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta says overpopulation could be the reason for the unexplained deaths of more than 350 of elephants in the...

Anti-poaching dog unit given teeth

3 weeks ago - 10 July 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe environment ministry has purchased four more dogs for to expand its anti-poaching dog unit.Currently the dog unit has four dogs, Alex, Benno, Baron...

More than 200 000 benefit from EIF projects

3 weeks ago - 10 July 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKA total of 238 000 people are expected to benefit from current projects funded by the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF).Environment minister Pohamba...

San's existence under threat

3 weeks ago - 09 July 2020 | Environment

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEK The San's environment is constantly under threat, and while they were once able to sustain themselves and their way of...

B2Gold project steps in to save rhinos

3 weeks ago - 08 July 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKLocal organisations supporting conservation in Namibia have seen their budgets slashed by up to 30%, as the coronavirus pandemic significantly impacts the world's economy.Among...

Conservancy consultations resume after lockdown

3 weeks ago - 08 July 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe N?a Jaqna Conservancy has resumed village consultation meetings with its members that were put on hold earlier this year due to the coronavirus...

Latest News

Two more CPCs for NSX

23 hours ago | Business

Two capital pool companies (CPC) listed on the Development Board (DevX) of the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) on Friday: Mcube Investments One Ltd and Omajowa...

Another tough year for Nictus

23 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Locally-listed Nictus Holdings’ results for the 12 months ended 31 March 2020 reflect the impact of the ongoing recession in Namibia with...

Familiar faces surface at IPC

23 hours ago | Politics

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKFamiliar faces have surfaced in the newly launched Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), which held its founding national convention in Windhoek over the weekend.The...

Seven Covid-19 cases in Windhoek...

23 hours ago | Health

JANA-MARI SMITHWINDHOEKWith nearly 100 Covid-19 cases confirmed in Windhoek, there is growing fear about how informal settlements – which so far have seven confirmed cases...

Journalist lands in trouble for...

23 hours ago | Government

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNamibia Press Agency (Nampa) journalist Edward Mumbuu has found himself in hot water with his employer after he asked President Hage Geingob a Fishrot-related...

De Beers likely to cut...

23 hours ago | Business

LONDON/GABORONE - Diamond mining giant De Beers is likely to have to cut jobs, its chief executive said on Thursday, as it outlined plans for...

Overview of VAT in Namibia

23 hours ago | Business

The Value-added Tax Act in Namibia imposes a liability to pay VAT on (a) every taxable supply of goods and services and (b) every import...

Journalism increasingly under threat in...

23 hours ago | Opinion

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This quote, often attributed to French philosopher...

Kunene commits on service delivery...

23 hours ago | Economics

The most fundamental reason for the existence of any government is to ensure the provision of housing and land to its people.This was said by...

Load More