Policy Instruments For Eliminating Plastic Bags From South Africa’s Environment
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The South African Government, private sector and civic society signed, on 28 September 2001 the Polokwane Declaration stipulating that South Africa achieves zero waste status in all sectors by 2022. Prior to that, two key policy frameworks: the 1999 National Waste Management Strategy and the 2000 White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management had been put in place with legal mandates from the 1996 Constitution, National Environmental Management Act of 1998 and the National Environmental Management Policy of 1999. Given that single measure policy instruments such as self-regulation, command-and-control as well as market-based approaches fail to achieve set targets, this paper interrogates tensions, debates and responses around finding a proper mix of policy instruments to achieve zero plastic bags waste in the country. The main findings revealed that the government oriented command-and- control approach failed. This resulted in negotiations between industry, labour and government leading to the conclusion of the Plastic Bags Agreement in 2002, followed by the repulsion of the 2002 Plastic Bags Regulations in 2003 as well as the introduction of standards stipulating thickness of plastic bags and an estimated US half a cent (ZAR 3 cents) levy per bag. The impact has been an average drop of plastic bags demand by between 70-90%. Keywords: waste, policy instruments, South Africa, Plastic Bag Regulations. 1 Introduction The framework for South Africa’s waste pollution and management is spelt out in the White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management of 2000 DEAT . The White Paper is subsidiary to a number of other policies that
waste, policy instruments, South Africa, Plastic Bag Regulations.