Pick n Pay V&A Waterfront supervisor Ruwayda Kenyon, transformation director Suzanne Ackerman-Berman and chair Gareth Ackerman with the R5 boxes sold on Tuesday as an alternative to plastic bags. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Pick n Pay V&A Waterfront supervisor Ruwayda Kenyon, transformation director Suzanne Ackerman-Berman and chair Gareth Ackerman with the R5 boxes sold on Tuesday as an alternative to plastic bags. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to net carbon zero by 2050 in his state of the nation address (Sona). Biomaterials, and bioplastics specifically, offer a potential decarbonisation option for the petrochemicals value chain. SA relies heavily on coal as an input into chemicals production and bio-based bioplastics have room to substitute for traditional plastics.

However, the market for bioplastics in SA is currently limited and market demand has yet to materialise substantially. While a number of efforts are under way to develop the supply side of the market, it appears that policy interventions are necessary to stimulate demand for sustainable plastics.

TIPS recently conducted a study into the subject of stimulating demand for bioplastics in SA. Michael Avery spoke to Muhammed Patel an economist at TIPS; Jenitha Badul, senior manager/policy adviser for sustainability programmes and projects, at the department of environment, forestry and fisheries; and Ozunimi Iti, project manager in the environment department of the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido).

Michael Avery talks to a panel about the demand for bioplastics in SA.

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