NIGERIA – The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has revealed that it is partnering stakeholders in the food industry to develop a standard that could save Nigeria over N1.8tn annually from importation of plastics.

According to SON, the new standards would improve production processes of plastics and ensure safety and the quality of products.

The standards body also stated that the new standards would also lead to an increase of recycled plastic use which would in turn provide opportunities for employment.

SON also stated in a statement that the production of high quality recycled plastic bottles would also save the nation from expending hard-earned resources on importation.

The organization also said that 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, was quoted as saying that there had been increased demand for the standard for recycled plastics by stakeholders, the private sector and manufacturers.

He said, “The recycling of pet bottle packaging represents one of the most successful and widespread examples of plastic packaging recycling.

According to him, the food and beverage recycling association of Nigeria remains the driving force for the development of this standard.

“Today, we have a draft national policy on lifecycle of plastics with recycling of plastic waste as one of the strategies,” said Aboloma.

“The draft policy has been extensively discussed by all relevant stakeholders and it is currently being processed for approval by the relevant government agency,” he added.

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.

The growth in collection and processing of pet bottles for food packaging application has been increasing significantly over the last 10 years.

This growth has been catalysed by significant investments in plastic recovery facilities and food grade recycled pet processing and the new standards would thus be key in improving the quality of the recycled bottles.