An official statement released by the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) on the 11th of February 2019 confirmed the statutory body’s support of a regulatory resolution through (SI) number 65 of 2018 to ban the use of disposable plastic bags in Zambia. The disposable plastic bag ban comes into full effect on the 14th of February 2019 after the lapse of the 180 day conformity window extended to all packaging material manufacturers.

This disposable plastic bags ban will alter costing and pricing models for Zambia’s packaging material manufacturers and suppliers in the short run, rendering some plastic packaging equipment obsolete in the process. The entire packaging value chain, incorporating manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and final consumers will share the financial impact of this decisive environmental sustainability move by the Zambian government.

ZDA Director General Perry Mapani explained that the opportunities created by the new regulation will establish a vibrant and robust recycling sub-sector that will utilize locally generated waste to create profits, new environmentally-friendly products, and more jobs for Zambians.

“The growth of this sector will support manufacturing companies that spend over USS$ 30 million annually on imported packaging products. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 65 of 2018, which encourages manufacturers to extend their responsibility on products beyond consumption, will stimulate innovation, diversification and competitiveness in the manufacturing sector,” elaborated Mr. Mapani.

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Further, the Agency is poised to attract investments in the manufacture of other durable alternative shopping bags to be used in place of disposable bags” Director General

It is believed that this ban has the potential to assist the Country in creating a reputation of being a clean tourist paradise that would boost its Tourism Sector which is one of Zambia’s priority sectors.

In 2015, the international community, through the United Nations adopted a set of 17 goals as part of a new global agenda on sustainable development and the environment underlies each of these goals – from zero hunger to clean water and sanitation to climate action, to building sustainable communities around the world.

Zambia Development Agency encouraged all Zambians to embrace the new regulation because of its effectiveness in discouraging the production of packaging products that are used once, yet they pollute the environment indefinitely with potential welfare losses for future generations of Zambians. The Agency is also confident that this ban will actualize the objectives of the ‘Keep Zambia Clean’ campaign.

On 3rd December 2018, the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) acting through the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) under the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation, and Environmental Protection informed the Nation that Statutory Instrument (SI) number 65 of 2018 took effect on 3rd August 2018.

According to legal provisions, a 180 days allowance was given with effect from the aforementioned date. This means that all manufacturers of packaging materials should be registered with ZEMA by the 14th of February 2019 when the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) takes effect.

Zambia is ranked 87 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest 2018 World Bank annual ratings. The nation has joined a growing list of environmentally conscious African countries that have also banned the use of disposable plastic bags, including Rwanda, Kenya, Eritrea, Mauritania and Morocco.

Zambia Fact File

Zambia is a land-linked country bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Angola, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The 752 000 square kilometres country has a population of 13.4 million people made up of 39% urban dwellers and 61% rural dwellers. Its annual population growth rate stands at 2.8%. English is the official spoken language in Zambia, with six (6) main local languages (Bemba, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja and Tonga) and over 70 indigenous languages and dialects. The country has vast natural resources, namely copper, cobalt, coal, emeralds, gold, water, wildlife and timber. Zambia has a large arable land resource base of 42 million hectares with only 1.5 million hectares being cultivated annually. The country accounts for 40% of SADC’s water resource and has abundant water resources for irrigation.