Plastics SA has called on the government to take steps immediately to ring-fence the plastic bag levy so it can all be used for recycling. Nearly R2bn has been raised since the supermarket plastic bag levy was introduced 15 years ago but only half of it has gone to recycling. The Treasury has allocated the rest to other departments. Plastics SA represents plastics industry players, including polymer producers, converters and recyclers. The organisation said the levy should have been ring-fenced for its intended purpose: to develop better recycling facilities and incentivise sustainable consumer behaviour. The levy is applied to the producers of the plastic bags but is ultimately passed on to consumers, who buy the bags at tills for varying prices from 50c. It was introduced in 2004 with a minimum limit on the thickness of the bags to aid recycling and promote reuse, after an agreement between the department of environmental affairs, labour and business. The intention was to encourag...

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