Enhancing municipal solid waste management through incorporation of extended producer responsibility in Lusaka Zambia.
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The visionary concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy advocates a system that aims to increase waste recovery and recycling. Extended producer responsibility policies have been widely adopted since the 1990’s, particularly in developed countries as an effective instrument for sustainable waste management. Zambia is currently adopting EPR law on some selected products with plastic as a packaging material being priority since inception of EPR law. Food stuffs and other products on the market are sold to majority of Lusaka residents and are later carried in plastic bags. After consumption, these packaging materials are discarded randomly. The increasing quantities of packaging materials thrown away and the inability of local authorities to cope with the increase makes it absolutely necessary to assess the lifecycle of these materials and the roles stakeholders connected to its life play in managing waste. This research was carried out to investigate how the EPR concept could be useful in promoting recovery and recycling of packaging waste materials, making conditions better for waste separation and thereby enhancing efficient biological waste conversions. It explores the roles of institutions in fostering EPR policies, assesses the motivation for producers to engage in waste recycling practices and possible ways to influence producers and consumers towards a transition to sustainable production and consumption behaviour. The research was carried out by an inductive analysis of 14 interviews and 60 questionnaires survey administered across the six EPR stakeholder groups of the Zambian packaging landscape with a response rate of 83%. Primary data was analysed using Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and excel. Based on the analysis it was observed that solid waste in Lusaka is high in organic content and the improper separation of organic and inorganic materials from the waste streams, use of inappropriate techniques, lack of developed institutions, poor financial status are the main reasons that make it difficult to manage these wastes. It was also revealed that EPR arena encompasses stakeholders ranging from government, NGO’s, producers and consumers as its main actors and are linked. Government regulates EPR policies while NGOs boosts the competence of the local communities to create awareness of waste management problems. Producers have the financial and physical responsibility of their products which includes packaging materials (plastics) and are willing to embark on sustainable production towards product design they however, linked the problems associated with plastic waste management in the city to consumer behaviour. There is more room for consumer behaviour to be influenced towards sustainable consumption once EPR policy will gradually start to come into effect, as the specific regulations and targets are defined and published in the present and future. It is expected that EPR would be a useful tool that would help in reducing the volume of waste and encourage biological waste conversions. Keywords: Responsibility, Producer, Packaging, Material, Sustainable, Waste
The University of Zambia
SubjectIndustrial management--Environmental aspects.
- Engineering