Dr. Tariq El-Araby, CEO of the Waste Management Regulatory Authority, and Ahmed Rizk, Deputy Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Egypt, opened the consultative session to regulate the use of single-use plastic bags in accordance with Waste Law No. 202 of 2020 and its executive regulations, which was organized by the Ministry of Environment and the Organization (UNIDO), in the presence of a number of commercial companies (retail chains).
Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, pointed out the importance of these sessions in creating a climate supportive of the trend towards reducing the use of single-use plastic bags, supporting the measures taken by the Ministry of Environment in this regard, and activating the national strategy to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, including the issuance of the standard. New plastic bags, study incentives and fines in accordance with the Waste Management Regulation Law, and available and suggested alternatives that can be offered to manufacturers and users.
She pointed out that the Ministry of Environment is keen to search for the most appropriate alternatives to single-use plastic bags before adopting mechanisms to prevent them to preserve natural resources, biodiversity and health, to reduce the effects of plastic pollution on them.
The session comes within the framework of activating the waste law and its executive regulations, and the national strategy to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, in coordination between the Waste Management Regulatory Authority and the project (Promoting circular economy practices in the single-use plastic value chain) of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
Dr. Tariq Al-Arabi pointed out the importance of the strategy to reduce the use of single-use plastic, which aims to reduce the negative impact as a result of excessive consumption of plastic bags on health, the environment, the economy and society, by setting a minimum limit for the thickness of the plastic bag, banning the free distribution of single-use plastic bags, and raising awareness. The importance of reducing the consumption of plastic bags, with the aim of reducing per capita consumption to 50 bags annually by 2030.
Al-Arabi pointed out that there are several procedures; To reduce the spread of plastic bags, the first of which is to distribute the bags for a fee, change the specifications of the bags to be more sustainable, provide incentives for manufacturers, implement campaigns to raise awareness, in addition to setting a timetable for the implementation of all laws and legislation that are in force, especially Law 202 of 2020. Which includes Article 17 and includes the issuance of a decision by the Council of Ministers specifying the priority products that are subject to the extended liability of the producer and indicating their types, the procedures followed in this regard, and the consideration that the producer bears in return for the competent administrative authority’s safe disposal of the waste resulting from those products.
The consultative session included a presentation on the UNIDO project to promote circular economy practices in the single-use plastic value chain in Egypt, and another presentation on the challenges of the single-use plastic problem in Egypt, and the extended responsibility of the producer under the waste law, which is an environmental policy aimed at reducing the resulting environmental impact. From dealing with consumer products, by assuming producers responsibility for the life cycle of their products, including the post-consumer stage, and includes responsibility for retrieving empty products and seeking to recycle or safely dispose of them.
A general discussion was opened, in the presence of representatives of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, with those responsible for retail chains, on the mechanism for regulating the use of single-use plastic bags in accordance with the law and its implementing regulations, during which many points were discussed, the most important of which was the mechanism for implementing the new standard for single-use plastic shopping bags and biodegradable bags and ways to implement them. Prohibiting the free distribution of these bags, and committing to implementing the extended product liability program approved by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, preparing and implementing awareness programs for visitors to sales outlets about the end of the grace period and starting to activate the law banning the free distribution of these bags, in addition to preparing and implementing an incentive system for store customers who use multi-use bags And environmentally friendly, retrieving used bags and setting up a system to benefit from them, and implementing promotional campaigns for green transformation through the media and social networking sites.