Bill to prohibit
land-filling of returnable containers
dumping of more than 50 million plastic bottles (which, when heated, generate
some of the deadliest toxins ever studied) and a million glass bottles into our
already highly-toxic and overflowing dumps may soon stop. Minister of Housing
and the Environment, Dr Roodal Moonilal, has announced that the Beverage
Container Bill that which had been gathering dust since 2000 is in its final
50 weeks now, in this series we have been calling for waste management
legislation and today we laud Dr Moonilal’s initiative to which he appears
committed notwithstanding the powerful lobby of manufacturers of beverages and
plastic containers. Today, Dr Moonilal as our guest columnist tells us what to
expect with this long-awaited bill by every one of us who cares about our
objectives of the Beverage Container legislation are:
• To ensure that the polluter pays the external costs of the sale and
consumption of beverages in beverage containers;
• create incentives the manufacturers, vendors and consumers of beverages to
reuse or recycle beverage containers;
• reduce the generation of solid wastes, waste disposal and recycling costs;
• reduce litter and litter related costs and hazards; conserve natural resources
and preserve the amenity of the environment and enhance the quality of life.
proposed features of the beverage container legislation include the following:
1. The Environmental Management Authority will be assigned responsibility for
the administration of the beverage container legislation
2. An advisory
committee will be created to further the objectives of the Act which may
comprise, amongst others, a representative from the Ministry with the
responsibility for the Environment, the Ministry of Finance, the beverage
bottling industry, the beverage importing industry, the recycling industry.
of the polluter pays principle whereby bottlers, importers, vendors and
consumers pay the external costs of the sale and consumption of beverages in
4. The beverage
containers covered by the proposed legislation include sealed bottles, cans,
jugs or carton composed of glass, metal, plastic, paper or any combination of
those materials which contains five litres or less of beverage.
5. The beverages
subject to the proposed legislation include alcoholic, fermented and malt and
distilled beverages, carbonated and noncarbonated water, soft drinks and fruit
drinks, mineral, spring or purified water, flavoured water or milk, milk based
and milk-substitute based drinks, coffee and tea drinks as well as vegetable
juices. Milk based drinks and milk-substitute drinks specially formulated for
children under one-year-old will be excluded.
stipulate registration requirements for bottlers and importers of beverages and
prohibits sale of beverages in beverage containers by non-registered bottlers
7. Allows for
exemption from the mandatory deposit/refund system for each registered bottler
or importer that has a voluntary stewardship plan for the management of their
beverage containers that includes an adequate system for the collection and
reuse or recycle of such containers.
8. Establishes a
minimum deposit and refund value for listed returnable beverage containers sold
in the country which encourages reuse and recycle of beverage containers.
incentives for entrepreneurial endeavours through the advent of collection
depots where consumers may return empty returnable beverage containers.
Operators of collection depots will receive the refund value of returnable
beverage containers as well as a handling fee from bottlers or importers.
10. Provides a
reimbursement mechanism whereby bottlers or importers are reimbursed for excess
refunds paid for beverage containers.
11. Allows the
EMA to appoint an independent auditor to audit the Deposit Transaction Accounts
maintained by any bottler or importer to ensure that deposits, refund values and
abandoned deposit amounts comply with the Act.
12. Allows the
minister, by Order subject to negative resolution of Parliament to prohibit of
the sale of beverages in containers that cannot be broken down by listed agents.
13. Allows the
Minister, by Order subject to negative resolution of Parliament, to prohibit the
incineration or land-filling of returnable beverage containers.
14. Creates a
number of offences for failure to comply with various provisions of the Act
whereby penalties can be imposed if found liable.
15. Allows the
Environmental Trust Fund established under the Environmental Management Act to
be used to issue grants to governmental entities or private organisations,
including but not limited to non-profit organisations for the purposes of public
education programmes on litter reduction, litter removal activities, litter-law
16. Allows for
the Trustees of the Environmental Trust Fund to provide incentives, including
subsidies, to bottlers for the purposes of promoting the utilisation of reusable
and recyclable beverage containers; and
17. Allows for
the Trustees of the Environmental Trust Fund to provide incentives, to operators
of registered collection depots and of certified recycling plants for the
purposes of research and evaluation of markets for reusable or recyclable
beverage containers, the expansion of existing or the planning, design and
construction of new recycling facilities and the purchase or lease of recycling