As per previous communications (including the front cover article of the Sparks Electrical News May 2020 issue), various PROs and other interested parties have been engaging with DEFF over the past eight months regarding the proposed Section 18 notice.

Update on Extended Producer Responsibility RegulationsSection 18 refers to the Extended Producer Responsibility aspect of the National Environmental Management Waste Act (NEMWA) and essentially replaces Section 28 (Industry Waste Management Plans) from 2017. All industries welcomed the introduction of the Section 18 process as it allows industry to raise, manage and disburse EPR fees themselves.

Although this update as issued by the Lightcycle SA Producer Responsibility Organisation, focuses on the lighting sector, it is important to note that the regulations and information in this article are applicable to all sectors including the electrical and electronic equipment sectors.

Where are we now?

On 26 June 2020, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), Ms Barbara Creecy, published an amendment to the National Environmental Waste Act under Section 18 in the form of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations for consultation. Members of the public and industry were given until 26 August 2020 to comment and revert to her with objections or suggested changes.

The regulations published for consultation are as follows:

  • Section 18 Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations which all industries are obligated to comply with.
  • Section 18 Individual Sector Notices published for the lighting sector, electrical and electronic equipment sectors and the paper & packaging sectors.

An Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme is a policy approach under which producers are given the end-of-life FINANCIAL, ADMINISTRATIVE and OPERATIONAL responsibility for their products put on market. This mainly involves a take-back scheme of post-consumer products for the collection, transportation, repair, refurbishment, management, and treatment. The administration and operational costs of the PRO is also covered by the EPR fees.

The producers are obligated to pay the EPR funds to the PRO. Each producer will be tracked for compliance through various mechanisms to ensure they a paying their required EPR fees to the PRO. A Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) is an organisation that assists producers meet their extended producer responsibility targets through various key stakeholders within the value chain in the country. The PRO is responsible for setting up and managing the value chain mechanisms for the targeted waste material and to create awareness for the recycling of all electrical and electronic waste.

Emphasis is on the role and responsibilities of the Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO)

The PRO must be operational by the time the final regulations are published. Once promulgated, the EPR Scheme will substantially change the regulatory environment in South Africa, not only for the obligated producers and users of lighting equipment, but for the Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) for lighting, namely Lightcycle SA. It will be the responsibility of the PRO to drive sector-based waste minimisation programmes, manage financial arrangements for funds to promote the reduction, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste; drive awareness programmes and innovate new measures to reduce the potential impact of products on health and the environment. 

Expected timeframe for implementation

Once approved and promulgated, producers and PROs will have six months to become compliant. However, Minister Creecy has made it clear that she wants to implement the new regulations before end October 2020. This means that the targets for the first year and reporting requirements will commence at the beginning of 2021.

Next steps

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries invited Lightcycle SA to submit comments on the draft EPR Regulations regarding the S18 Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme and the S18 Lighting Industry Notice. Lightcycle SA has been engaging with DEFF and other PROs to gain further insight in the interpretation and concerns raised by other industries to be considered as a part of the Lightcycle SA comments submission. Lightcycle SA has also received confirmation from DEFF that the Section 18 policy framework proposals submitted to the department on the 15 June 2020 by Lightcycle SA NPC, will be included. The proposal that was submitted can be viewed by clicking the news tab and the news item “Framework on EPR regarding Section 18 of NEMWA”.

The draft regulations that were out for consultation can be viewed on the Lightcycle SA website (www.lightcyclesa.org) by clicking the news tab. The comments as submitted to the Department on 26 August 2020 will be considered by the Department for inclusion into the final regulations. Once the final regulations are published all parties that have registered to join the PRO will be notified.

Call for producers to register with Lightcycle SA PRO

Producers are urged to sign up and register with the PRO as soon possible. There will be a sign-up fee and more information will be given to registered parties. To register and sign up with the PRO please visit www.lightcyclesa.org and click to register on the PRO registrations Tab.

By Patricia Schröder, PRO Manager, Lightcycle SA NPC

 Enquiries: patricia@urbanelements.co.za

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