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Western Cape takes first steps to ban plastic shopping bags

| Going green

The Western Cape has taken its first steps in combating plastic bag usage across the country.

In a motion passed at the Western Cape DA’s Provincial Congress on Saturday, the party pledged to pass legislation that would prohibit the of vest-type plastic shopping bags unless they:

  1. Are 100% recyclable (containing 0% chalk filler) and;
  2. Are made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste and;
  3. Contain 1.5% biodegradable additive to render them fully biodegradable under appropriate aerobic or anaerobic conditions, assuming such additive, meeting specified requirements, is readily available in SA.

The motion was led by the DA’s shadow minister of Tourism, James Vos,  who said that less than 1% of the 350 million vest-type plastic shopping bags (PSBs) purchased in the Western Cape each year are recycled.

“Instead they end up in landfills or blow out of bins or garbage trucks— blocking storm drains, getting stuck in trees or littering rivers and beaches – all highly undesirable outcomes.”

“In nature, plastic breaks into smaller pieces, but never fully disappears – it breaks up not down, contaminating our food and water,” he said.

This meant that municipal governments had to spend vast amounts of money to clean up PSBs and to repair the damage caused by them – money that is better spent elsewhere, he said.

You can read the full motion here

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