Rwanda becomes the first East African country to issue a complete ban on all single-use plastics and retailers have three months to clear their stocks and find alternatives, while industrial users and producers of single-use plastics have a two-year deadline.

The ban affects all plastic carrier bags and other single-use plastic items such as wrappers, plastic containers, bottles, straws, plastic cutlery, folders, and balloons. Plastic duty-free bags are not authorised to be brought into the country.

The country first adopted a law against plastic bags in 2008 and a new law gazetted in August this year adds to the list of other types of plastics deemed equally harmful to the environment.

The 2019 law is extensive and prohibits the manufacturing, importation, use and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items

Failure to adhere to the law will attract hefty penalties or even revocation of trade licences.

‘The new law is intended to check unnecessary consumption and disposal of single-use plastic items, which are harmful to the environment,’ said Vincent Biruta, the Minister of Environment.

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