Towards circular economy: Govt developing regulations for use of recycled plastics for packaging

The government is developing standards and regulations to enable the use of recycled plastics for the packaging of food and beverage products, as opposed to new materials, as part of measures to drive the country towards a circular economy.

A circular economy is “a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible” to tackle global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. 

It is being championed by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) in partnership with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Ghana National Plastics Action Partnership (NPAP).

Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, explained that the move was aimed at attracting private investments into the plastics value chain and promoting the country’s drive towards a circular economy.

The minister stated this in a statement read on his behalf in Accra yesterday at the second edition of the European Union (EU) Circular Economy Seminar.

He said that it was imperative Ghana worked towards a circular economy which was in sync with natural systems and led to the creation of a resilient local and global economy.

Such an economy, Dr Afriyie noted, would boost the efficient use of resources to mitigate climate change, reverse biodiversity loss and minimise pollution.

He,therefore, reiterated the need for urgent collaboration of leaders to create alignment for increased investments in achieving a circular economy.

Ghana, he said, had joined the Africa Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) which was working to develop a regional circular economy framework for Africa to create a wider market to attract the much-needed investments.

The minister explained that regional co-operation was also necessary for member countries to develop common standards, and to adopt a common strategy to build and locate infrastructure needed to sustain a resilient circular economy on the continent.

“As we transition to a circular economy, it is very important for us to work together, expand our markets and build the infrastructure that will support the transition,” Dr Afriyie added.

Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei Asare, noted of the government’s commitment towards the realisation of some of the sustainable development goals which were in line with the shift towards a circular economy.

Amongst them, she noted, was the budgetary allocation of GH¢221 million in 2021 at the governmental level towards Goal 13, which was focused on climate action.

She said circular economy would create new opportunities and open new markets for Ghanaian entrepreneurs as well as help to reduce raw material consumption and waste generation.

EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, said a circular economy was essential in achieving a more sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy.

He called for the involvement of all economic and social stakeholders in developing initiatives, policies and regulations to support the promotion of circular economy.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS and CECILIA LAGBA

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