One of Zimbabwe’s polystyrene manufacturer, Planas Trading laid off 70 employees after the government banned kaylite packaging last year. Melody Frank, the sales and marketing manager at Planas Trading said that they had not found a solution for the kaylite ban.
“We never did get the three months. We were told after three weeks that we needed to stop straight away. The three months never came into play. And we are very disappointed about it, because we actually offered and put through a waste management proposal which we actually paid for,” Frank said talking to Newsday.
“We have lost between $250 000 to $350 000 per month because those were our monthly sales figures and have had 60 to 70 workers losing their jobs.”
Kaylite ban follows a research by a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student which shows that kaylites are made out of chemicals that are harmful when consumed. Kaylites are also said to cause cancer that had 6,548 new cases diagnosed in 2013 according to reports. The research was considered by the government and banned the product using the Statutory Instrument (SI) 84 of 2012 which prohibits the manufacture or importation of expanded polystyrene (kaylite) for use or commercial distribution within Zimbabwe. Kaylites were also banned for causing environmental problems such as pollution both land and air pollution if they were disposed of in the form of burning. Besides Zimbabwe, Rwanda is another country that has banned kaylites for pollution.
Frank said that investors were not willing to invest in machinery for the packaging industry when the packaging materials were likely to be banned. Kaylites are cheaper than their substitute which cost 10c per 3.