Supply Chain Council of European Union |

Rwanda: Are Businesses Ready to Cope With Ban on Single-Use Plastics?

Manufacturers and dealers of some single-use plastic products have appealed for more time so they can adjust and avoid financial losses.

There are about 20 single-use plastics banned in Rwanda.

Wholesalers, retailers and consumers were given a three-month grace period in October last year to stop using single-use plastic products while factories that produce the banned products were given a two-year grace period.

Now, manufacturers have requested that the grace period be extended for wholesalers, retailers and factories to get alternatives without incurring losses.

Anitha Urayeneza, the Managing Director of NBG Ltd that produces straws in Gasabo District, told The New Times that she invested Rwf250 million to start the factory three years ago and added that until now she has not yet paid back a loan she acquired.

“I have not yet started to really make tangible profits since I have not yet even finished paying back the bank loan. It requires me at least three years to finish paying back the loan. This means if straws are banned in wholesalers and retailers now, I will have no market in the two-year grace period that runs out in 2021.

I think a 5-year grace period is better for manufacturers like me to pay back the loans we acquired from banks and find alternatives to single-use plastics,” she said.

Urayeneza added that if she gets at least five years, she could be able to switch from environment polluting straws to producing environmentally friendly straws, which need at least Rwf600 million because it would mean using new machines and technology to produce the straws.

The company employs 30 permanent workers who could lose jobs if it is not facilitated in transition. It has been producing at least 1,000 boxes of straws per day.

One box contains 12 packs of straws while one pack contains 200 straws. This means the factory produces 2.4 million straws per day.

She said that if the grace period is extended, they will set up mechanisms to collect the straws and supply them to recycling companies.

“Some companies can recycle them into pavers, sacks and they are already collecting them for recycling”.

She emphasised that factories, wholesalers and retailers should be given more grace period to empty products from stores.

“You cannot tell a wholesaler to stop the business and then tell the factory to continue operating for two years. Where can we sell the products?” she said.