Environment Protection (Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottle Permit) Regulations 2001
Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues. Plastic wastes constitute a large component of municipal solid waste and are predominantly those used in packaging (plastic bags, plastic bottles and food boxes/packaging). In Mauritius, plastic wastes account for more than 75,000 tonnes (14 %) of wastes, which are landfilled annually. Only 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes of plastic wastes are recycled yearly, either locally or through export.
With a view to address this increasing amount of plastic wastes, the Environment Protection (Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottle Permit) Regulations 2001 were promulgated to manage post-consumer PET bottles generated from the local beverage industries based on the Extended Producers Responsibility. Under these regulations, local PET bottling beverage companies are regulated by a PET Bottling Permit system issued by the Ministry of Environment and are required to put in place facilities for the maximum collection of post-consumer PET bottles to be recycled. These regulations were supported by Financial Incentives to further promote the collection and recycling of PET Bottles.
The Vision of the Government of Mauritius is for a Clean and Green Mauritius and this Vision also calls for concrete action for a Plastic Free island. As such, the Government is working towards the implementation of a series of measures to address the increasing amount of plastic waste being generated by addressing the use of plastic products at source as well as to increase the collection and recycling rates.
PET bottles are one of the main plastic products being used and disposed of across the island. About 130 million PET bottles are generated annually in Mauritius by the beverage industries, representing about 90-95% of total PET bottles generated. The Environment Protection (Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottle Permit) Regulations 2001 were promulgated to manage post-consumer PET bottles generated from the local beverage industries based on the Extended Producers Responsibility. Under these regulations, local PET bottling beverage companies are required to put in place facilities for the maximum collection of post-consumer PET bottles to be recycled. These regulations would have ensured that a maximum amount of the PET bottles were collected and recycled. However, according to the PET bottlers, collection of post-consumer PET bottles produced by a given company is practically not feasible.
To reinforce these regulations and curb plastic pollution, a Financial Incentive Scheme was introduced in 2006. A PET levy of Rs 1 per bottle was introduced in 2006 and was increased to Rs 2 in 2010. To boost up the rate of post-consumer PET bottles collection for recycling, which seemed to stagnate around 30-40%, a Financial Incentive Scheme of Rs. 30 million was introduced in January 2014. Key measures include the following:
· In 2014, Rs 15 per kg of PET were provided for the export for recycling in excess of 1000 tonnes and Rs 20/kg in excess of 1500 tonnes.
· This was revised in 2015 and the incentive was Rs 5 per kg of PET exported for recycling in excess of 1 tonne to encourage small operators.
· In addition, to encourage recycling of PET locally, an incentive of Rs 15 per kg of PET recycled has been introduced since July 2018.
· In 2019, the incentive was increased from Rs 5 to Rs 15 per kg for the exportation of waste PET for recycling in excess of 1 tonne
Plastic represent a source of pollution and eye-sore in nature. Plastics not only impact negatively on our marine and terrestrial biodiversity, but they also block drains, resulting in flooding and cause health problems through proliferation of mosquitoes, leading to diseases such as Chikungunya and Dengue. Moreover, bioaccumulation of plastic in the food chain and burning of plastic waste cause other health problems. The Regulations and Financial Incentive Scheme aim to discourage the disposal of PET bottles and promote the rate of collection and recycling. Furthermore, it will also encourage the creation of green jobs.