Ban on kaylite packaging begins, says state agency

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GOVERNMENT has finally begun implementing the Statutory Instrument which bans the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) known as kaylites in the food industry.
Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri announced the decision in 2015 and gave food outlets up to June 30, 2016 to switch to alternative packaging.
However, implementation was delayed by a further 12 months.
“Please note that Statutory Instrument 84 of 2012 on plastic packaging and bottles has come into effect henceforth kaylite has been banned,” said Batsirai Sibanda, Environment Management Agency spokesperson, on Wednesday.
The environment regulator claims the plastic food containers expose the people to cancer and has clogged the country’s drainage as well as sewer systems.
EMA information and publicity manager Steady Kangata recently said, “For Harare it has been a major culprit of clogging storm drains leading to flash floods, as the plastic closes all avenues of the storm drain.”
He added that kaylite composition of 90 percent air and 10 percent plastic makes it endure disintegration for up to 500 years.
“If it is burnt, it contains styrene gas, releasing gases that can cause cancer and if one heats food from the polystyrene, styrene gas is slowly released which has negative health implications,” explained Kangata.
As for the kaylite replacement, the EMA official said food outlets should think of alternatives or use cardboard boxes while customers should consider sit-ins.
“Most of the restaurants in the past were using cardboard box packaging but concerns were the box was mainly for dry foods while people would also want soup and other soft meals.
This is an issue we are still looking at and we are encouraging people to go for sit-ins rather than take-aways all the time,” he said.
Those found violating the law face fines or mandatory community service.
There have also been indications that the telecommunication sector can also be affected by the waste management drive as the regulator plans to eliminate recharge cards for electronic methods.