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Extended Producer Responsibility for plastic packaging in South Africa

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulation is a key policy instrument to address the increasing volumes of plastic pollution. EPR will hold both the plastic packaging industry and government to account and ensure transparency in the system.

In South Africa there is significant under investment in the waste and recycling sector. There is also little to no incentive for packaging manufacturers and brand owners to design their products for recycling or reuse, nor to encourage the use of post-consumer recycled content.

While the previous voluntary EPR scheme was a good start, it was governed primarily by material converters. In contrast, EPR best practice is to have participation of all stakeholders in the value chain. The voluntary scheme also had limited coverage of plastic packaging applications. In May 2021, EPR Regulations were gazetted in South Africa which made EPR mandatory in the paper and packaging sectors.

This report, a synthesis on policy recommendations, gathers the evidence for mandatory EPR best practice from around the world. It provides an overview of key perspectives from a series of expert interviews and a wide stakeholder engagement process to inform obligatory EPR policy for plastic packaging in South Africa. This report, which captures where South Africa is at with EPR, is a positive step towards sustainable waste management and a circular economy.

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EPR synthesis report

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