Rwanda’s Plastic Free Utopia – Non-Biodegradable Bags Out

DTS Another Planet Daniel Farò

A recent video and article from Down to Earth shows the local legislation within Rwanda turning towards a greener environment. Rwanda’s Environmental Management Authority (REMA) has began taking action to rid the country of plastic non-biodegradable polyethylene bags. The fines are steep and jail time is mandated for smugglers. Companies are turning towards paper bags which cost more than regular polyethylene bags and the strength of the bags are reduced. REMA and other local authorities are raiding bakeries and establishments that may be smuggling non biodegradable plastic bags across the border.

This action comes with a price to local business owners as the mandate has left most of them paying more for packaging of their items, such as bread and other consumer goods. The price as stated by one business owner is “passed onto the consumer”. While the ban has created a much cleaner environment it also is creating multiple new business opportunities for other Rwanda Business Men and Women, for the first time in Rwanda, paper bags are being made. Although paper costs more for both the shipping and handling it also has hidden costs on the environment as fewer trees means more Co2.

The environmental benefits of using paper is more for an aesthetic purpose than for the environmental purpose. Plastic bags fill the streets of neighboring countries and the storm drains and rivers are littered with plastic articles. Rwanda authorities are taking the confiscated smuggled plastic and recycling them into mosquito nets for public use. This is causing other surrounding African Countries to follow in the footsteps of Rwanda and ban the thin plastic bags made from polyethylene.

BioSphere Plastic is meeting with government officials in Africa to help them understand the benefits of biodegradable plastic bags made with BioSphere’s additive. BioSphere is committed to provide a cost affordable solution for all countries in the world to maintain the BioSphere we call Earth.

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