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Navigating Kenya's new waste management landscape: Are your products compliant?
by Verity Anipa at 09:23 in Environmental, Packaging

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If you are a producer of goods in Kenya, there is a crucial question you need to ask yourself: Have you registered your products and associated packaging in accordance with the latest environmental regulations? The passage of the plastic bag ban in 2017 and enactment last year of section 13 of the Sustainable Waste Management Act No. 31 of 2022 framework marked a significant shift in Kenya's approach to environmental stewardship. Section 13, which introduces EPR framework to Kenya, mandated EPR nationally. Ensuring that your products are registered and compliant is now more than a regulatory obligation. It is now a vital step in contributing to the health of Kenyans, the protection of the environment, and the success of your business in Kenya's evolving green economy.

Key requirements for producers to comply with Kenya's EPR regulations

On the 30th of August 2023, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) issued a public notice to all producers, stipulating compliance within 60 days. Since the announcement, producers must adhere to several key requirements, including the decision on whether to join an existing Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) or elect to join an Individual Compliance Scheme. Once this decision is made, producers must do the following:

  • Compile a comprehensive inventory of all products planned or introduced into the Kenyan market.
  • Provide documented evidence of their membership to a PRO or develop their own individual compliance scheme.
  • Estimate or provide the annual volume or quantity of products.
  • Implement robust mechanisms for product identification and tracking, essential for accountability and traceability throughout the product lifecycle.

Producers who join a scheme will only need to cover the key requirements stated here, whereas producers opting for individual collective schemes will be required to conduct further steps outlined in NEMA's notice to ensure that the end life routes for waste are established. All producers will be required to submit annual reports to NEMA. Products from non-compliant producers may be at risk of being removed from the market, and the producers could be prosecuted and fined.

Packaging compliance schemes

The Kenyan EPR framework outlines EPR for products placed on the market as well as their associated packaging. There are currently two packaging compliance schemes which producers can join in Kenya, KEPRO and PAKPRO. This includes upholding stringent environmental regulations, leading initiatives to combat post-consumer non-hazardous packaging waste in Kenya. To ensure compliance in accordance with section 13, members will need to:

  • Pay the annual membership fees for the active year.
  • Submit usage volumes and makes EPR payments.

Both compliance schemes cover a wide range of packaging materials, including PET plastic, rigid and flexible plastics, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum, tin, steel, and composite materials. By choosing to join KEPRO or PAKPRO, producers will not only be compliant with regulations but will also actively contribute to the advancement of sustainable waste management practices in Kenya.

What is next for Kenya?

Kenya has taken great strides towards reducing waste through the implementation of bans and EPR framework in Kenya. They have created new compliance schemes, and made moves towards fostering a culture of environmental stewardship among producers. Currently, Kenya strives to move forward with the finalization of the EPR Regulations, which are now in the final stages of drafting.

As we keep a vigilant eye on the advancements in Kenya's environmental legislation, it is evident that EPR will play a crucial role in shaping the nation's approach to waste management and plastic pollution. To stay informed with the latest legislation on national and global waste management initiatives, get in touch today!

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