Wednesday, July 24, 2024
NewsBill to regulate plastic bottle recycling, limit PET imports

Bill to regulate plastic bottle recycling, limit PET imports

A new regulation referred to the Ministry of Justice proposes the legalization of the use of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET), or reusing plastic bottles, for food packaging.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), derived from petroleum, is a versatile plastic suitable for packaging food and non-food products. Experts behind the bill want to regulate the sorting, transportation, recycling, repurposing and storage of RPET.

Although the idea was initially introduced by officials at the Environmental Protection Authority, the bill was drafted by experts at the Ministry of Industry and the Food and Beverage Industry Research and Development Center a year ago. It has since been under review by stakeholders.

The bill is necessary as there are no standards for reusing PET for food packaging, says Bekele Mekuria, director of the Center.

The regulations in question fall under the ‘Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal Control Decree Proclamation’ ratified in 2018.  A meticulous procedure for employing RPET in food packaging is deemed essential, and the developed regulation aims to fill this gap.

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The draft is now under scrutiny by the Ministry of Justice, whose input will then be incorporated and presented to the Council of Ministers for final approval, said Bekele.

Recycling PET for food packaging could offer substantial benefits. It could save up to USD 50 million in expenditures on PET imports annually, generate employment opportunities, and contribute to preventing environmental pollution.

Regulating the use of recycled materials can help the authorities mitigate the adverse effects of substandard plastic bottle waste management on human health, economic development, and environmental sustainability, said the Director.

The comprehensive regulation consists of nine sections and more than two dozen articles, delineating the roles and responsibilities of regulatory bodies and individuals or organizations involved in the process.

The regulation also covers the technology of PET material and goods production, control systems, compliance of PET recycling, and quality standards for collecting, storing, and producing PET used in food packaging.

Once approved, this regulation will open doors for investors interested in the packaging industry, enabling them to import recycling technology and contribute to a sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

The new rules would oblige recycling companies to label their products with details on the recycling process, while food producers will be mandated to notify consumers about the kind of packaging they are using.

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