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Government introduces standards for recycling pet bottles

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Used pet bottles blocking a drainage

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and stakeholders in the food industry have developed a standard that would save Nigeria foreign exchange used in the importation of plastics.

The new standards would improve production processes of plastics, ensure safety and the quality of products, leading to an increase of its use, which in turn provides opportunities for employment rather than expending the nation’s hard-earned resources on importation.

The standards body stated that the need to develop the standard was also coming on the heels of recent coordination by the Federal Ministry of Environment to develop a national policy for the lifecycle of plastics in the country.

Already, Nigeria is the third-largest importer of plastics in primary forms after Egypt with just 30 per cent capacity to produce locally while the remaining 70 per cent is currently being imported.

The Director-General (SON), Osita Aboloma said at a technical committee meeting on polymer and related products, explained that there have been lots of demand for the standard for recycled plastics by stakeholders, the private sector and manufacturers, stressing that for the national policy of the federal ministry of environment to gain ground, it must be backed by standards.

The SON boss represented by SON Director, Standards Development, Chinyere Egwuonwu, said it would also give consumers and producers the confidence that the products and services they are developing or using are safe, reliable while also

He said: “The recycling of pet bottle packaging represents one of the most successful and widespread examples of plastic packaging recycling. The growth in the collection and processing of pet bottles for food packaging applications has been increasing significantly over the last 10 years.

“This has been accomplished by significant investments in plastic recovery facilities and food-grade recycled pet processing. The food and beverage recycling association of Nigeria remains the driving force for the development of this standard.”

“Today, we have a draft national policy on the life cycle of plastics with the recycling of plastic waste as one of the strategies. The draft policy has been extensively discussed by all relevant stakeholders and it is currently being processed for approval by the relevant government agency,” he added.

He urged stakeholders to study the document and come up with a workable standard that would guide manufacturers, promote trade and assist regulation to guarantee acceptability without compromising the safety of the product and the environment.

The chairman of the Committee and lecturer at the Department of Chemical and Petroleum and Gas Engineering, University of Lagos, Prof. Abiola John Kehinde, commended SON for creating the platform for developing the standards, saying that it would go a long way to educate manufacturers of what is expected of them while also making the environment safe.

SON Deputy Director, Standard Development and Group Head, Chemical Technology Group, Agboola Afolayan, said the standard is very special because it deals with recycled pet bottles for food application

“There is plastic waste everywhere in the country and it is becoming an international embarrassment. Our environment is feeling the negative impact of this situation and our drainages are blocked by the littering of plastic pet bottles. If we want to recycle well, there must be a standard that will guarantee the requirements and which must be consistent with international best practices,” he said.


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