Africa leads with plastic ban

As of July 2018, one hundred and twenty-seven (127) out of 192 countries reviewed (about 66%) have adopted some form of legislation to regulate plastic bags. Of this number, 37 African nations have initiated progressive reforms regulating plastic bags, according to a report [Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations] by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Of the 127 countries with some form of plastic bag legislation, ninety-one (91) countries, representing about 72 percent (72%), have some type of ban or restriction on the manufacture or production, importation, and retail distribution of plastic bags. The region with the greatest number of countries adopting this approach is Africa, with thirty-four (34) countries, closely followed by Europe with twenty-nine (29) countries.

Plastic Bag Bans or Restrictions:

Type of Restriction African Country
Manufacture, Retail Distribution & Importation (*levy collected on Retail Distribution) Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal*, Seychelles, South Africa*, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
Manufacture & Importation Republic of Congo
Importation Algeria
Retail Distribution & Importation (* with Levy on retail distribution) Chad, Djibouti, Gabon.
Source: Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations – United Nations Environment Programme

Distribution of Countries with Thickness Requirements for Plastic Bags

Country Thickness Threshold
Botswana Ban on plastic bags thinner than 24 microns
Cameroon Ban on non- biodegradable plastic bags less than or equal to 60 microns
Eritrea Ban on thin plastic bags less than 100 microns
Ethiopia Ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags with a wall thickness of 0.03 millimeters or less
Madagascar Ban on plastic bags and bags of thickness less than or equal to 50 Microns
Malawi Ban on plastic bags less than 60 microns
Mozambique Ban on plastic bags less than 30 microns
Senegal Ban on Plastic bags less than 30 microns. Plastic bags greater than or equal to 30 microns, may not be distributed or offered free of charge
South Africa Ban on plastic bags with a thickness of 24 microns or less, but local manufacture for export allowed
United Republic of Tanzania Ban on plastic bags below 30 microns
Tunisia Ban on plastic bags with a thickness of less than 40 microns, or bags of low volumes with a capacity of less than 30 liters
Uganda Ban on plastic bags less than 30 microns Zimbabwe Ban on plastic bags less than 30 microns
Source: Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations – United Nations Environment Programme

 

Type of Plastic Bag Material Composition Requirement

Country Material Composition Requirement
Benin Only biodegradable or compostable plastic bags can be distributed for free
Burkina Faso Ban on production, import, marketing and distribution of non-biodegradable plastic packaging and plastic bags
Cameroon Manufacture, importation and commercialization of non-biodegradable plastic packages less than or equal to 60 microns is prohibited
Cape Verde Conventional plastic bags, with the exception of biodegradable, cannot be distributed free of charge in any commercial establishment; conventional plastic bags to be replaced by biodegradable and compostable bags
Chad Ban on importation of non-biodegradable plastic packaging
Côte d’ Ivoire Ban on production, import, marketing, possession and use of plastic bags. Minister of the Environment may exceptionally authorize the use of biodegradable plastic bags
Djibouti Ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags
DRC Manufacture, import and marketing of non-biodegradable packaging is prohibited
Ethiopia Ban on manufacture or importation of any non-biodegradable plastic bags with a wall thickness of 0.03 millimeters
Gabon Ban on non-recyclable plastic bags
Mali Ban on production, import, and sale of non-biodegradable plastic bags
Mauritius Ban on plastic bags, except biodegradable plastic bags or compostable plastic bags which conform to the appropriate standard
Niger Ban on plastic bags, except plastic bags that are certified biodegradable in accordance with the standards
Seychelles Ban on manufacturing, importation, distribution of plastic bags except biodegradable bags
Togo Ban on production, import, distribution and marketing of non-biodegradable plastic bags and packaging
Tunisia Ban on production, importation, marketing, possession and distribution, except authorized biodegradable bags
Source: Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations – United Nations Environment Programme

Exemptions from Plastic Bag Ban

Twenty-five (25) countries expressly provide for exemptions to their ban on plastic bags. The exemptions relate to certain activities and certain products. Most countries have multiple exemptions, the most common of which include handling and transport of perishable and fresh food items, carrying of small retail items, use for scientific or medical research, and garbage or waste storage and disposal.

In terms of regional distribution, Africa has the most number countries that have explicit exemptions from the ban, with 14 out of the 25 countries.

source: https://www.africa-ontherise.com/2019/05/africa-leads-with-plastic-ban/

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