The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has announced a nationwide shift towards a more sustainable waste management system.

In a public notice issued on April 8, 2024, NEMA mandated the use of 100 per cent biodegradable garbage bags specifically for organic waste collection.

This directive, taking effect 90 days after its announcement, aims to tackle plastic pollution and streamline waste processing.

NEMA emphasizes that "the use of conventional plastic bags/bin liners for collection of organic waste shall thus cease forthwith."

The new regulation applies to households, businesses, and public institutions across Kenya.

Residents will be required to segregate their organic waste, which includes food scraps and yard trimmings, and dispose of it in designated biodegradable bags.

Waste collection companies are obligated to provide these biodegradable alternatives to their clients and ensure separate collection for organic waste streams.

This initiative aligns with the Sustainable Waste Management Act of 2022, which mandates waste segregation for organic and non-organic fractions.

NEMA highlights the environmental benefits of biodegradable bags, particularly their role in facilitating the processing of organic waste at Material Recovery Facilities.

The ban on traditional plastic garbage bags solely targets those used for organic waste collection.

It's important to note that other plastic applications, such as packaging materials, are not included in this directive and likely fall under separate regulations.

NEMA's directive marks a significant step towards achieving Kenya's environmental goals.

By promoting biodegradable waste management practices, the country aims to significantly reduce plastic pollution and enhance the efficiency of processing organic waste, ultimately contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable future.