NIGERIA – The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), in partnership with stakeholders in food industry have drafted a national policy on lifecycle of plastics with recycling of plastic waste, waiting approval by the relevant government agency.
SON is the sole statutory body that is vested with the responsibility of standardising and regulating the quality of all products in Nigeria.
According to the organisation, the new standards would improve production processes of plastics, ensure safety and quality of products and in turn save Nigeria over N1.8tn annually from importation of plastics.
It stated that it would also lead to an increase of its use which would provide opportunities for employment rather than expending the nation’s hard-earned resources on importation.
The need to develop the standard was coming on the heels of a recent coordination by the Federal Ministry of Environment to develop a national policy for the lifecycle of plastics in the country.
The Director-General of SON, Osita Aboloma stated that the draft policy had been extensively discussed by all relevant stakeholders and it is currently being processed for approval by the relevant government agency.
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.
He further stated that, “The recycling of pet bottle packaging represents one of the most successful and widespread examples of plastic packaging recycling.’’
“The growth in collection and processing of pet bottles for food packaging application has been increasing significantly over the last 10 years and has been accomplished by significant investments in plastic recovery facilities and food grade recycled pet processing.”
According to him, the food and beverage recycling association of Nigeria remains the driving force for the development of this standard.
SON was established by the Act No.56 of 1971 and is a full member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Its mandate includes the preparation of Standards related to products, measurements, materials, processes and services, amongst others; their promotion at national, regional and international levels; the certification of products; assistance in the production of quality goods and services; improvement of measurement accuracy and the circulation of information related to standards.
Recently the multinational consumer goods company, Unilever announced new commitments seeking to halve its use of virgin plastic by 2025 and help create a circular economy for plastics.
The Ben & Jerry’s, Knorr, and Lipton brand owner aims to reduce its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes, accelerate use of recycled plastic and help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.
The food and beverage major say that this new commitment makes the company the first major global consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastics reduction across its portfolio.