Transitioning to a circular economy (CE) for plastics is widely acknowledged as being critical for addressing the issue of plastic leakage, while potentially bringing a range of additional socio-economic and environmental gains. The resolution adopted at UNEA5.2 to develop a legally binding global treaty (by 2024) for addressing plastic pollution will provide a strong global driver for the transition to a circular plastics economy.
The World Bank Group appointed CSIR to conduct a study to map and assess existing activities around the circular economy of plastics in South Africa and to support the South African Government in developing a roadmap to advance the circularity of plastics.
The objectives of this assignment were:
Given this focus on reducing leakage of plastics to the environment, a decision was made to delimit the scope of the study primarily to plastic packaging and other single-use plastic items; which are particularly problematic from a leakage perspective.
Consistent with the original Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) notice to producers of paper, packaging and some single-use products (DFFE, 2020), we define packaging and single-use plastic as follows:
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