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Thread: Plastic bag money

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Plastic bag money

    Ever wondered what happens to the price you pay for plastic bags?

    While the plastic bag tax has become a cash cow for government, bringing in R221-million since 2004, the company tasked with promoting the recycling of plastic bags is struggling to get off the ground.

    Buyisa-e-Bag, the company in question, has seen a mere R44-million of the funds generated since it became fully operational in 2005, leaving R177-million to churn around in the general fiscus.

    The treasury says that the funds have not been earmarked exclusively for Buyisa or any plastic bag recycling projects. Instead, how the levy money is spent depends on organisational capacity to spend the funds provided. What remains of the funds generated through the levy goes towards other government concerns, such as health and education.

    Full article on M&G Online
    This whole plastic bag issue is one that has been worrying me for a while now. What always bugged me, was that there has never been any indication of how to go about recycling these bags.

    The company which has been formed to assist this whole process is Buyisa-e-Bag. I found this part quite interesting,

    One of the chief obstacles facing Buyisa, says Hughes, is the difficulty the company has in navigating its way through red tape at local government and municipal level. Securing the rights to sites where buy-back centres for plastics can be established and acquiring the correct permits for recycling is a slow process, he says.
    Another thing I found quite interesting, which does make ones mind mull over it a bit,

    Plastics bag manufacturers are required to pay 3c on all bags they produce and make payment directly to the South African Revenue Service. Retailers can charge consumers as much as they see fit for each plastic bag.
    From the article, the government is effectively saying that they will spend the money as they decide until Buyisa has the capacity to spend the money. Is this right? Should it be like this, or should the government be actively investing that money into useful plastic recycling projects?

    I know what I think they should be doing, what do you think?

  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    At the risk of derailing the gist of your question, I was just thinking the other day that this is one of our government's more bizarre initiatives, but it seems to have actually had an impact.

    Admittedly I haven't driven the run from Umtata to East London recently, the region that inspired the term "our national flower", I think. But I've noticed a vast improvement in the plastic bag litter problem in my other wanderings.
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