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Ban on regifoam boxes, lunch sheets soon

Draft regulations to ban regiform lunch boxes and extend the ban on lunch sheets less than 20 microns up to 40 microns will be presented to the Cabinet approval next week, Central Environmental Authority (CEA) sources said.

He said the regulations once finalized and approved by the Cabinet would be published in a Gazette and implemented within two months.

He noted if necessary a grace period would be announced for the manufactures, sellers and consumers to adapt to the new regulations and find alternatives.

A Committee of Experts appointed in September last year to prepare ‘a national policy and an action plan on the use of polythene, plastic and bio-degradable plastic’ recommended banning regiform lunch boxes and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) small bottles of water and other drinks.

The Committee was appointed as of a Cabinet paper submitted by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Committee also recommended increasing the ban on polythene less than 20 microns up to 40 microns.

However, the CEA has decided not to proceed with the ban on PET bottles, but to manage them introducing ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ concept to the producers and sellers. He said as of this concept the producers should bear the responsibility and cost of collecting and recycling the post-consumer products.

He said this same approach would apply for the disposal of yoghurt cups. He said the CEA in the coming months would take stern action to manage the waste that largely contributes to the dengue menace.