The latest plastics recycling figures released by Plastics|SA reveal that South Africans are recycling more plastics than ever before.

The results of Plastics|SA’s annual survey into plastics recycling for the period ending December 2016, reveal that there is a growing awareness of recycling and public pressure to recycle – resulting in more post-consumer and post-industrial plastics being made available for reuse.

Growing public pressure to recycle bears fruit

Last year, 1.144 million tons of recyclable plastic entered the waste stream, of which 41.8% was recycled in South Africa based on input tonnages.  This is a year-on-year increase of 5,9%.  During this period, a growing number of organisations and consumer groups became actively involved in upstream collection efforts, resulting in a positive impact on the amount of plastics that were collected and recycled.

Recycled tonnages have grown by 35 % since 2011.

Plastics industry takes strain

The increase in recycling that was recorded was not as a result of increased plastic products that entered the market.  In fact, 1.518 million tons of virgin polymer was converted into products in South Africa during this period – a mere 1.9 % increase compared to 2015.

Plastics manufacturing and recycling industries in South Africa and around the world have been taking strain over the past two years and more end-markets needed to be developed as a matter of urgency to ensure take-off for recycled materials.

Towards the end of 2016, South Africa had 204 active recyclers who mechanically reprocessed plastics materials such as plastic packaging. Between them, they provided formal, permanent employment to 6 140 staff and supported the informal employment of 51 500 waste pickers and collectors. For the first time in many years, recyclers had an oversupply of recyclate in 2016. It is clear that the survival of the industry depends on creating more demand for recycled materials in order to prevent bottle-necks and stock that does not move off their factory floors.

Markets for recycled plastics

  • The largest market (20%) for recyclate was for flexible packaging (20%) with PE-LD/LLD and PE-HD sold to refuse and carrier bag manufacturers.
  • Following closely in second position (18%) was the market for clothing and footwear where products such as rPET were turned into fibre applications and flexible PVC for shoe soles and gumboots.
  • Recycled rigid packaging made up 15% of the market, where plastics were recycled into items such as drums and buckets made from recycled PE-HD and PP as well as rPET for thermoformed sheet applications.
  • PE-LD/LLD recyclate was used for irrigation pipes for the agricultural sector (5%) and the furniture sector (5%) make use of PP for injection moulded chairs and tables and PS for picture frames.

Developing the export markets

Whilst weak domestic currency favours the exportation of plastics, only 5% of South Africa’s plastic recyclate was exported.  SAPRO is currently also investigating possible cooperation with virgin raw material traders who have a footprint in other African countries and elsewhere in the world, as developing this market would be beneficial to both the recycling industry and the virgin traders,” according to Rudi Johannes from SAPRO.

The way forward

South Africa currently only makes use of mechanical recycling, as no other commercial facilities currently exist for alternative plastics recycling. Compared to Europe’s mechanical recycling rate of 29.7 %, South Africa can indeed be proud of its recycling rate of 41.8 % for all plastics.

“We cannot afford to rest on our laurels or ease up on our recycling efforts. Not only are brand owners and international organisations under increasing pressure to meet their sustainability targets, but plastics recycling also forms an integral part of the circular economy”, Hanekom says.

To this end, Plastics|SA has identified the following priorities that will continue to drive the industry’s recycling efforts:

  1. Separation at source is essential. Recyclable waste needs to be made available to the recycling value chain as close as possible to where it reaches its end of life.  We must not be over demanding on the consumer.  Local government and NGOs need to make it as effortless as possible for the householder to get rid of recyclables in the format that is acceptable to the collectors and waste management companies.
  2. One-way packaging must be designed for recycling.  In a country where there is a vibrant mechanical recycling industry, recyclability must form part of the brand owner product design checklist.
  3. Closer cooperation between role players. Waste producers, recyclers and brand owners need to work closer with regard to understanding which packaging can be recycled, how to meet the needs and demands of brand owners and getting all the parties concerned to commit to a circular economy.
  4. Greater awareness of recycling through education. Better knowledge and improved understanding are required regarding which products can be recycled, how the collection and recycling process works and the end-products that are generated.

Conclusion

According to Anton Hanekom, “Plastics recycling does, and will continue to offer sustainable solutions for plastics waste. Whilst we are working tirelessly to satisfy the legislative requirements and zero waste ambitions aimed at reducing our carbon footprint, we also need to invest in development and innovation if we are to have plastics manufacturing and recycling industries that are sound and robust. All the members of the plastics value chain must engage with each other and commit to a true circular economy where the need for sustainable business practices is not ignored.”

Download the Executive Summary, or the latest recycling survey is available at a charge of R550.  Kindly email Dianne.Blumberg@plasticssa.co.za to request your copy.

What is white, light, considered of high value and, although made up almost entirely of air, is in very high demand? If you guessed polystyrene, you’d be 100 % correct!

The Polystyrene Association of South Africa has teamed up with Wildlands in Durban and Rhino Greenbuilding in Port Elizabeth to collect, process and supply post-consumer and industrial recycled polystyrene products to manufacturers – ultimately offering a solution that will prevent this valuable resource from ending up in these two cities’ landfill sites.

“Expanded polystyrene is one of South Africa’s most commonly used materials relied upon by canteens and spaza shops owners and restaurateurs to keep their food or beverages hot or cold, as well as by retailers to protect high value items such as televisions or fridges owing to the material’s excellent insulation properties,” explains Adri Spangenberg, Director of the Polystyrene Association of South Africa.

Polystyrene is widely used by supermarkets to transport and pack their perishable food products such as meat, fruit and vegetables owing to the fact that polystyrene offers excellent insulation properties, extends the shelf life of food and protects items against breakage.

“The wonderful thing about polystyrene is that the material consists of 96% air – making it incredibly lightweight. This has a significant impact on carbon emissions during transportation, but also unfortunately causes it to be easily blown away by wind where it becomes visible litter found on beaches or along roadsides,” Adri says.

Few people are aware that used polystyrene is a valuable resource that is readily recycled in South Africa.  The collected polystyrene is put through an Ingot machine that transforms into a material used by recyclers for the manufacture of stationery, hangers, picture frames, cornices and skirtings. It is even mixed with a special cement mixture for use in building and construction.

“Polystyrene recycling has grown year-on-year to more than 4 200 tonnes last year, saving 162 350 000 litres of landfill space thanks to their various recycling projects. This is equivalent to 65 Olympic-sized swimming pools filled with polystyrene that was diverted from landfill, that at the same time helped to create more than 48 000 jobs in the plastics recycling industry,” Adri elaborates

Commenting on this exciting development, say Kaveer Singh of Wildlands and Jarred van Niekerk of Rhino Greenbuilding: “We are very excited to become part of this project that will not only divert a valuable item away from landfill, but also help to create jobs and support a growing industry”.

Business and residents in Port Elizabeth are encouraged to take their clean, white polystyrene to their depot situated 15 Voyle Street in Sydenham, while Wildlands readily accepts white and coloured polystyrene that is dropped off at its Recycling Depot situated in Cato Manor in the SPCA Excess Road.

“Every bit counts, and we are asking residents to please make sure that their material is cleaned and void of any left-over food, bones etc. We are working tirelessly to raise awareness about the value of recycled polystyrene amd ensure that recycling remains at the top of everybody’s environmental agenda. To this end, we hope to establish even more collection and recycling depots in and around Durban and PE in the near future,” she concludes.

For more information about polystyrene recycling, visit www.polystyreneassociation.co.za or call +27 72 820 2506

Alternatively email Jarred@rhinogreenbuilding.co.za (Port Elizabeth) or KaveerS@wildlands.co.za (Durban)

Plasticomp cc has become the latest SMME to join the Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA). According to SAVA Chief Executive Officer, Delanie Bezuidenhout, Plasticomp has successfully satisfied the criteria for membership and has been accredited as a member and signatory to the association’s Product Stewardship Commitment (PSC).

“We are thrilled to welcome them to the SAVA family.  As a recycler of rigid PVC (PVC-U), Plasticomp has successfully demonstrated that they support our commitment to increase the recycling rates of PVC in South Africa and adherence to the principle of extended producer responsiblity regarding end-of-life material”, Delanie says.

Boksburg-based Plasticomp started its operations in September 2006 providing toll pulverizing services to the PVC-U pipe and conduit customers for their own start-up scrap. Since then, the company has grown significantly and now provide toll services to the LLDPE (roto moulding market), pigments and masterbatch manufacturers in both virgin and recycled materials. They also provide recycled PVC-U powder that they export into Africa as well as supply to local pipe, borehole and profile manufacturers.

“We read about SAVA and the amazing work the association does in trade publications. We identified that there is great potential for working with SAVA members and decided that joining their ranks would signal a clear message about our company’s own commitment to sustainable and ethical practices, whilst at the same time unlocking new sources of PVC-U scap thereby broadening our customer base,” said Anton Tjabring, the Managing Member of Plasticomp.

For more information about Plasticomp, visit their website on www.plasticomp.co.za or contact Anton Tjabring directly via email at atjabring@plasticomp.co.za or telephone (011) 918-3412 / (074) 366-8636.

For more information about SAVA, visit www.savinylsassociation.co.za

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The Polystyrene Packaging Council – the Product Recovery Organisation (PRO) for Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) in South Africa – has announced that it is changing its corporate name to the Polystyrene Association of South Africa.

“With the recent steps taken to formalize industry bodies representing the various PRO’s, and in our dealings with government and end-markets, it became clear that we needed to relook our purpose, role and positioning within the Industry Waste Management Plan (IWMP).  Whilst technically Council is regarded as a statutory body, we will not be fulfilling this role in light of the more formalized industry representation which is currently underway,” says Adri Spangenberg, explaining the rationale for the rebranding.

By far, the vast majority of PRO’s in South Africa are established as Voluntary Associations. In line with the general characteristics, the Polystyrene Association is regulated by Common Law, has an open membership and is managed from within by general members or a management/steering committee according to a Constitution drawn up by members.

“By doing away with the word “Packaging” in our name, we also wanted to include more players in the industry wanting to join us as members.  The polystyrene market has grown considerably since we started more than 10 years ago, and participation is no longer only limited to the manufacturers of food packaging material. In addition, the IWMP requires all producers and convertors of polystyrene to support our objective of increasing the recycling of polystyrene through our various projects that all have a strong charity and social upliftment motivation,” Adri explains.

In step with the new developments, an updated logo has been unveiled, whilst the email addresses and websites will also gradually be changed and seamlessly be redirected to the new the Polystyrene Association URL.

The Breadtags for Wheelchairs Project celebrated a decade of touching and improving the lives of handicapped recipients with a tea party that was held in honour of the coordinators and collectors in Stellenbosch yesterday. The event was sponsored by SASKO and the Polystyrene Association of South Africa.

Photo 1:  FLTR: Kyle Cato of Wynberg Boys High, Anthony Ghillino of QASA, Natalie van der Westhuizen (Polystyrene), Lungie Mnyamana (SASKO), Jady Kannemeyer (Junior Collector), Adri Spangenberg and DB Janse van Rensburg (Paul Roos Gymnasium).

Photo 2: FLTR: Representatives of the Alta du Toit After Care Centre with Therese Ellis (seated in front) receiving her new wheelchair from Adri Spangenberg (Polystyrene), Lungie Mnyamana (SASKO) and Sean Carew (CE Mobility).

3000 Chairs over 10 Years

According to Adri Spangenberg, Director of the Polystyrene Association, more than 3 000 wheelchairs were donated to recipients who are physically disabled and financially unable to purchase their own wheelchairs over the past ten years.

“The Breadtags for Wheelchairs Project has grown from humble beginnings in somebody’s home in Cape Town, to a volunteer effort involving thousands of volunteers around the country.  Today, we are proud to say that we managed to divert more than 4 tons of polystyrene from our country’s landfills thanks to the 10 buyers of the breadtags made from high density polystyrene, more than 200 collection points and 1 000 coordinators who assist with the breadtag collection,” Adri said.

The Breadtags for Wheelchairs network is made up of volunteer collectors and coordinators on the one side, who diligently accumulate approximately 210 kg of breadtags from schools, churches, businesses and community centres in in their area in order to purchase a standard wheelchair, costing around R1 600.00.

On the other side, is a network of buyers such as Zibo Containers and MFI Mouldings, who pay R8.00 for each kilogram of breadtags that are collected and recycle them into seedling trays, cornices, skirtings, outdoor furniture, coat hangers, poles and decking.  Bringing these two parties together and facilitating the process, is the Polystyrene Association who administers the programme by arranging for the breadtags to be collected and receives the payment from the recyclers.  Once enough tags have been collected to cover the cost of the wheelchair selected, this money is then paid over to the pharmacy or wheelchair supplier of their choice.

Because it is important to ensure that the correct wheelchair is purchased when seating quadriplegics, they also works closely with CE Mobility and the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) in assessing the requirements of the recipient and ensuring they get the right wheelchair for their needs.

Grateful to Corporates

“Our hands and our work have been significantly strengthened thanks to corporates such as SASKO, CE Mobility, QASA and Dischem who have come alongside us by providing additional funding, infrastructure, expertise and advice. Without their help, we would never have been able to grow the project to where it stands today,” Adri said.

“SASKO is proud to be associated with the Breadtags for Wheelchairs Project, because it resonates with our core values of caring for others and looking after the environment,” said Lungie Mnyamana, Brand Manager Essential Foods: Bakeries at Pioneer Foods.  “It is easy for everybody to get involved in the collection of breadtags, and makes a huge difference in the lives of many,” she added.

Various coordinators and collectors received certificates of recognition for their efforts, and a wheelchair was also handed over to Theresa Ellis, a grateful recipient of the Alta Du Toit Care Centre.

“Not only has the small act of collecting breadtags touched the lives of the recipients, but it has changed and impacted the lives of each and every one of us that is involved in the project.  Our sincere thanks to the thousands of collectors and coordinators who are involved in the project, as well as the companies who have come alongside us to help administer and grow the project. We look forward to growing the project even further during the next ten years,” Adri concluded.

For more information on how to get involved in the Breadtags for Wheelchair project, visit www.polystyrenerecyclingnetwork.co.za or visit their Facebook page on www.facebook.com/#!/groups/btagsforwchairs

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A group of just over 180 proud residents took to the streets of Joburg on Sunday, 17 September 2017 as part of a ‘Joburg City Clean-Up’ in the prelude to the 2nd annual FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN.

“We were overwhelmed by the support that the ‘Joburg City Clean-Up’ received,” says Blake Dyason, ‘Joburg City Clean-Up’ pioneer.  “Our cities have so much history and opportunity.  We’re proud to team up with the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN on what was our first Joburg clean-up.  Through sports, arts and culture we are able to entice residents to the inner city both to enjoy its rich heritage and drive business.  In order to do this, we need to keep our cities clean and safe.”

The dirty inner city streets of Jozi.

“The ‘Clean Up’ started and finished at Newtown Park, which is 500m away from the Mary Fitzgerald Square, the finish venue of the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN,” continues Dyason. “Volunteers were given gloves and bags before being let loose to walk the streets, have fun and explore their city. Our partner Waste Plan, an on-site waste management company, collected the litter. Our other partners, PETCO (South Africa’s national industry body accountable for managing the PET plastic industry’s Extended Producer Responsibility) and Extrupet (the largest and most advanced recycler of PET bottle materials on the African continent) not only provided the bags and gloves, but committed to sponsoring a number of school desks, made from recycled plastic, to the CITYKIDZ Pre-and Primary School. Along with five desks which have been donated by a private citizen, Mr. Ashith Sodha, we are donating a total of fifteen desks, which fills up one class room!”

Somesh Rastogi (Extrupet) getting his hands dirty alongside his wife and Belinda Booker (PETCO)

According to Janine Basson, PETCO Stakeholder and Relations Manager, PETCO’s mission is to grow the collection and recycling of PET plastic, after consumer use. “PETCO is thrilled to support the ‘Joburg City Clean-Up’. We believe clean-ups have an important role to play in shifting South Africa away from a ‘take-make-dispose’ system to a circular economy by ensuring that valuable resources, such as PET plastic bottles, are diverted from landfill and collected for recycling. In the case of the ‘Joburg City Clean-Up’, PETCO sponsored bags and gloves. Together with Extrupet we will also donate school desks made out of recycled plastic to a local school. Each desk, made from discarded bottle labels and caps, is approximately 65kg and seats two students.”

Extrupet Managing Director Chandru Wadhwani with his son (left) and Belinda Booker from PETCO (right).

Says Chandru Wadhwani, Managing Director of Extrupet and PETCO Board Director, “We believe that these types of initiatives allow us to move off the side-lines and into the thick of consumer and civic responsibility. Plastic touches us all, whether directly or indirectly, and it is imperative that we come together to be part of true sustainability when the opportunity (such as this clean-up) presents itself.”

The ‘Joburg City Clean-Up’ saw the clearing of 150 bags of waste from the streets of Johannesburg, which were collected by Waste Plan for sorting and processing.

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In just four days, Langa locals brought 5,2 tonnes of glass,1,9 tonnes of paper,1 tonne of plastic and 295 kilograms of cans to the PACKA-CHING mobile buy-back service in their area and, in exchange, received R 5,403.32.

Spearheaded by Polyco and funded by its members, the PACKA-CHING project is being piloted in Langa and was launched on Monday the 21st of August 2017. Its goal is to divert at least 750 tonnes of packaging waste from landfill by increasing recycling within selected informal settlements and lower-income areas around Cape Town and Johannesburg. At the same time, the initiative’s intention is to uplift the lives of local residents by enabling them to benefit financially.

Mandy Naudé, Chief Executive Officer at Polyco says, “There is a vast amount of visible waste lying around, especially in informal settlements. The large majority of the public is uneducated on the topic of recycling and totally unaware of the opportunities it presents. Much of the waste that we see lying around is packaging material from household products, most of which is recyclable. PACKA-CHING presents an income earning opportunity, whereby everyday South Africans are encouraged to take part in recycling in order to improve their own lives, the community as a whole and the environment in which they live.”

Brooke Kühne, PACKA-CHING Project Co-ordinator, explains: “The PACKA-CHING recycling trailer visits designated areas on specific days of the week to collect recyclable plastic, paper, metal cans and glass that has been collected and separated by community members. In exchange for these materials, they are rewarded with an amount of money determined by the current market price of each material type. The money is loaded onto their Kilorands CardTM (a special debit card) and can be spent at any shop that accepts MasterCard. By incentivising and encouraging community members to recycle and reduce waste pollution, we aim to positively change behaviour and shift the way in which people perceive recyclable packaging, in order to show them that waste has value.”

“Furthermore, we run a community fund in each area where the PACKA-CHING project operates. For every kilogram of recyclable material that is brought in, a fixed amount per kilogram of material type will be allocated to the fund. The accumulated value will be donated to a worthy project within each community, identified by the residents themselves. The intention of the fund is to provide additional incentive for households to recycle and to create a sense of unity and pride within the communities as they work towards a common goal. We would like the entire community to feel the benefits of this initiative and the positive change in behaviour,” adds Kühne.

The launch in Langa comes after weeks of distributing specially designed educational material in the area and visiting primary and high schools to educate learners about the value of and opportunities offered by recycling, as well as to encourage them to take the message home. During these presentations, the children were introduced to the project mascot, PACKA-MAN, who taught them which materials can be recycled and how to separate them correctly. They were also given specially designed age-specific educational booklets and board games to get them excited about recycling. Kühne shares: “By teaching children about recycling at a young age, they are more likely to grow up with this practice as second nature and will also be key influencers in their parents’ decisions to change their behaviour.”

Naudé shares: “We are thrilled that over 8.5 tonnes of waste – that would otherwise have littered Langa or ended up in landfills – was collected in under a week and we can’t wait to see what will be achieved by the end of the year-long pilot project. We are perhaps even more excited about the feedback from the community and seeing first-hand how the project is changing their perceptions of recycling and positively impacting their lives. It is so encouraging to see individuals passing by the PACKA-CHING trailer with huge smiles and items bought using their Kilorands Card™. This project has been made possible by the generosity of our Polyco member organisations – a group of responsible polyolefin packaging producers – and we are incredibly grateful to them for their support.”

Plans are in place to roll the PACKA-CHING project out in Kya Sands and the surrounding communities in Johannesburg early next year.

“When a community is able to realise the potential that recycling holds and just how easy it can be, they will be excited to participate, spread the message and encourage others to get involved too. The more this process continues, the more the project can grow. This, in turn, will result in more recyclable packaging being diverted from landfill and more communities benefitting from this positive change,” concludes Naudé.

For more information about the PACKA-CHING project or to find out how you can be involved, visit our newly launched website at http://www.packaching.co.za. You can also track the progress of the material collections and the community fund through this platform, as well download our educational booklets and board games. For more about Polyco and what we do, go to https://www.polyco.co.za.

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The South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) is inviting entries to this year’s Recycled Plastic Product of the Year Awards.

SAPRO is proud to announce the sixth prestigious competition, with the aim of acknowledging the wide variety of products that are locally manufactured using recycled materials.

History of the competition

The Recycled Plastic Product of the Year Awards were held for the first time in 2010 and has been dubbed “The Oscars of the plastics recycling industry”. Each year the competition grows both in the number of entries and in the variety of different products being submitted.

This biennial competition showcases the tremendous amount of ingenuity and creativity our local product designers have, and aims to encourage brand owners to seriously consider recycled plastics as a material of choice. Whether they are designing packaging or pallets, shoes or shopping bags, this competition has demonstrated that there is no limitation to where and how recycled plastics can be used.

Winners of this year’s competition will be announced at a gala dinner in Gauteng during Clean-Up and Recycle SA Week (11-17 September 2017).

Product categories and judging criteria

In order to encourage even greater participation and entries by local converters and innovators, this year’s competition will have the following five distinct product categories:

  • Products made from 100% post-consumer recyclate
  • Products containing a percentage post-consumer recyclate
  • Products made from recycled mixed materials
  • Novel and Artistic products – i.e. articles made from discarded plastics products
  • And for the first time, there is also a “New Ideas” category – anything that can be made from recycled materials.  It does not have to be a product as yet, just the idea clearly explained on a poster, mock-ups or a good explanation.

A gold, silver and bronze winner will be announced in each of these product categories, which will also acknowledge the recycler of the material, the manufacturer of the product as well as the brand owner in front of the auspicious audience during the gala awards ceremony.  The overall winning entry will walk away with the SAPRO trophy for The Best Recycled Product for 2017.

Entries will be judged on a number of criteria by a panel of judges who are experts in plastics, packaging, recycling, product design and marketing. The criteria they will use when adjudicating each entry includes: the life expectancy of the product, the sustainability (i.e. long-term demand and market acceptance of product), the measures taken to ensure product consistency and customer satisfaction despite recycled material content, tonnage (or potential tonnages) of plastics that were converted and therefore diverted from landfill, technical achievements in manufacturing to overcome recycled material challenges, replacement of alternative materials and the so-called “Wow-factor” of the product.

SAPRO is looking for products that will grow the demand for recyclate, help to focus on the quality of products and to stimulate innovation – all aspects needed for a vibrant plastics recycling industry.

Rules, regulations and entry forms

Any company in the SADC region may enter the competition, provided that the recycled material originated in South Africa. Products that were entered in previous years’ competitions, but failed to win, are also eligible to enter again.

The closing date for entries is Thursday, 10 August 2017.

The very fact that recycling industries both locally and internationally are under severe pressure and fighting for survival, highlights the importance of showcase events such as these. Decision makers must be made aware of the versatility of recycled plastics and the important role this industry plays in job creation, diverting waste from landfill and growing the economy.

Entry forms and competition rules can be obtained online from SAPRO’s website.

PETCO Awards recently celebrated the Champions behind PET recycling in South Africa.

Press Release

Media releases and video links:

  1. Best Recycling Public Education Programme – The Waste Trade Company and White Sharks Project Recycle Swop Shop.
  2. Best product using recycled PET – The Joinery, for their ‘My Office’ range.
  3. Recycling Partnership Game Changer – Pikitup.
  4. Recycling Innovator of the Year – Extrupet (Pty) Ltd.
  5. Best Community Breakthrough Initiative – Reliving Cop17.
  6. PET-trepreneur – Nokubonga Mnyango, owner of Uthando Solutions and Trading (Pty) Ltd. and Maxwell Ndlovu, owner of Okuhle Waste Management.
  7. Top Women in Recycling – Charlotte Lamprecht, owner of Henque Waste.
  8. Media Spotlight award – Sindy Peters, Managing Editor at Bizcommunity.com

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South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) is inviting entries to this year’s Recycled Plastic Product of the Year Competition.

SAPRO is proud to announce the sixth prestigious competition, with the aim of acknowledging the wide variety of products that are locally manufactured using recycled materials.

History of the competition

The Recycled Plastic Product of the Year Awards were held for the first time in 2010 and have been dubbed “The Oscars of the plastics recycling industry”. Each year the competition grows both in the number of entries and in the variety of different products being submitted.

This biennial competition showcases the tremendous amount of ingenuity and creativity our local product designers have, and aims to encourage brand owners to seriously consider recycled plastics as a material of choice. Whether they are designing packaging or pallets, shoes or shopping bags, this competition has demonstrated that there is no limitation to where and how recycled plastics can be used.

Previous overall winners include the City of Cape Town and MPACT Plastic Containers with their Fifty/50 Wheelie Bin (2015), Unilever with their Sunlight Dishwashing bottle (2013), Lasher Tools with their Eco-Wheelbarrow (2012), Woolworths and Polypet with their 1.5 litre juice bottle(2011) and Tufflex Materials with their innovative railway sleeper made from mixed materials(2010).

Winners of this year’s competition will be announced at a gala dinner in Gauteng during Clean-Up and Recycle SA Week (11-17 September 2017).

Product categories and judging criteria

In order to encourage even greater participation and entries by local converters and innovators, this year’s competition will have the following five distinct product categories:

  • Products made from 100% post-consumer recyclate
  • Products containing a percentage post-consumer recyclate
  • Products made from recycled mixed materials
  • Novel and Artistic products – i.e. articles made from discarded plastics products
  • And for the first time, there is also a “New Ideas” category – anything that can be made from recycled materials. It does not have to be a product as yet, just the idea clearly explained on a poster, mock-ups or a good explanation.

A gold, silver and bronze winner will be announced in each of these product categories, which will also acknowledge the recycler of the material, the manufacturer of the product as well as the brand owner in front of the auspicious audience during the gala awards ceremony.  The overall winning entry will walk away with the SAPRO trophy for The Best Recycled Product for 2017.

Entries will be judged on a number of criteria by a panel of judges who are experts in plastics,packaging, recycling, product designand marketing.Thecriteria they will use when adjudicating each entry includes: the life expectancy of theproduct, the sustainability (i.e. long-term demand and market acceptance of product), the measures taken to ensure product consistency and customer satisfaction despite recycled material content, tonnage (or potential tonnages) of plastics that were converted and therefore diverted from landfill, technical achievements in manufacturing to overcome recycled material challenges, replacement of alternative materials and the so-called “Wow-factor” of the product.

Although various weighting could be used to judge products objectively, weare looking for products that will grow the demand for recyclate, help to focus on the quality of products and to stimulate innovation – all aspects needed for a vibrant plastics recycling industry.

Rules, regulations and entry forms

Any company in the SADC region may enter the competition, provided that the recycled material originated in SouthAfrica. Products that were entered in previous years’ competitions, but failed to win, are also eligible to enter again.  The closing date for entries isThursday, 10August 2017.

We look forward to receiving a record amount of entries for this year’s competition. The very fact that recycling industries both locally and internationally are under severe pressure and are fighting to survive, serves to highlight the importance of showcase events such as these. We need to make sure that decision makers are made aware of the versatility of recycled plastics and the important role this industry plays in job creation, diverting waste from landfill and growing the economy.

Entry forms and competition rules can be obtained online from SAPRO’s website (http://www.plasticrecyclingsa.co.za).