Category Archives for "Sustainability"

Clean-up crews minimise waste footprint

The Plastics|SA Clean-Up Crews will once again help to ensure that the waste footprint of two of Cape Town’s biggest sporting events taking place in March this year, is kept as small as possible.

For the 11th consecutive year, Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Manager, John Kieser, will be coordinating clean-up crews who will be working around the clock to keep the routes and surrounding areas used for the 40th Cape Town Cycle Tour (Sunday, 11 March 2018) and the 49th Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (Saturday, 31 March 2018) clean and litter-free.

Teamwork is the beauty of Sport

Teamwork is the beauty of sport, where individual team members become selfless and act as one towards a common goal.  This year, our group of more than 200 cleaners who have been employed from various townships in and around Cape Town – including Joe Slovo, Kayamandi, Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Khayelitsha – will once again demonstrate what can be achieved through unity, teamwork and collaboration when they sweep the routes by picking up all the water and energy drink sachets used by the athletes or litter left behind by the spectators with as little disruption to the events or the traffic.

The majority of the waste collected during these events is plastic waste, which has a high recycling value.  Several truckloads of plastic waste are collected and recycled annually at these events.  Food waste is sent to Noordhoek for composting, whilst all non-organic event waste collected during the OMTOM are recycled and upcycled into unique school desks for under-resourced schools as part of the event’s #GoGreen campaign.

City of Cape Town plays major role

“Over the years, the active and visible involvement of the Plastics|SA clean-up team and the PETCO branded bins and truck at these events have helped to create an awareness of the plastics industry’s dedication to keeping plastic litter out of the environment,” Kieser says.  He adds that the City of Cape Town plays a major role in boosting their clean-up efforts by ensuring that the routes for these annual events are cleaned prior to the race days.

This year’s ongoing, severe drought has presented a harsh reality for the event organisers, stakeholders and participants. However, being the two most premier events on the province’s calendar, they play an important role in the economic growth of the city and the province, as well as provide much needed funds for the many charities that partner with and benefit from them.

The plastics industry is proud to work alongside the organisers who are committed to waste management and recycling and are doing everything in their power to ensure these iconic events take place with as little impact as possible on the municipal water supply and the environment.

New Sustainability Advisory Board

The new Advisory Board for Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Division recently held their first Board Meeting.

Members of the Board:

  • Dr. Thommie Burger (CEO – Wildlife and Environment Society)
  • Annabe Pretorius (Plastics 911 – Plastics Expert)
  • Rowan Le Roux (Operations Manager- Polyoak Packaging)
  • Shabeer Jhetam (Newly appointed CEO – Packaging SA)
  • Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga (Head, UN Environment Office in SA)
  • Douw Steyn (Director Sustainability – Plastics SA)
  • Prof. Linda Godfrey (Manager – Waste RDI Roadmap Implementation Unit – CSIR)
  • Anton Hanekom (Executive Director – Plastics SA)
  • Charles Muller (Outgoing CEO – Packaging SA)
  • Marvellous Nengovhela (SALGA) (absent in photo above)

This new body, together with the industry Producer Responsibility Organisations (PETCO, POLYCO, Polystyrene Association of SA and SAVA) will determine the strategic direction of Sustainability activities ensuring that action plans are formulated for key issues affecting the plastics industry and the environment.  Participation in global alliances is of the utmost importance and will also feature high on the priority list of this Board.

Offering keen insight into pertinent issues facing Plastics and the environment, Board members presented on:

  • The Paper and Packaging Industry Waste Management Plan (Charles Muller)
  • The Outcomes and the Impact of UNEA3 (United Nations Environmental Assembly) on the plastics Industry (Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga)
  • The preliminary findings of the Africa Waste Management Outlook (Prof. Linda Godfrey).

For more information, kindly contact

Polyoak Packaging signs Pledge to prevent pellet loss

Polyoak Packaging has become part of a worldwide drive by plastics leaders to reduce the amount of plastic pellets ending up in rivers and ultimately in the ocean, by signing a pledge to prevent resin pellet, flake and powder loss as part of Plastics|SA’s Operation Clean Sweep.

Attending the signing ceremony that took place at Polyoak Packaging’s regional head office in Cape Town earlier this week, were Jacques Lightfoot, Sustainability Manager at Plastics|SA, Stuart Allen (Operations Manager), Rowan le Roux (Commercial & Sustainability Manager) and Jeremy Mackintosh, Group Managing Director at Polyoak Packaging.

Explaining the importance of making a public declaration to prevent pellet loss, Mackintosh said: “Polyoak is proud to be one of the country’s biggest manufacturers of plastic packaging. Because we use large quantities of plastic pellets and flakes on a daily basis to produce items such as plastic bottles, closures and containers, it is important that we adhere to strict environmental standards and take a leading role as a responsible producer. By signing the Operation Clean Sweep pledge, we want to highlight our commitment to making zero pellet loss a priority by ensuring that pellets are kept out of the natural environment, including waterways and oceans”.

Douw Steyn, PlasticsǀSA Sustainability Director explained that ingesting plastic items, such as pellets, could affect the ability of seabirds, turtles and fish to breathe, swallow or digest foods properly.  “Whilst the public is responsible for proper recycling and disposal of consumer products and packaging, the responsibility to contain plastic pellets firmly rests on the shoulders of the plastic industry,” he said.

To this end, Plastics|SA has been promoting Operation Clean Sweep to the industry, developed resource materials for its members and is in the process of developing systems aimed at containing plastics since it launched the initiative on World Oceans Day (8 June) at the uShaka Marine World in Durban earlier this year.

“We are proud to be one of the first companies signing the pledge as we believe there is a direct link between sustainability and profitability.  Adhering to green practices such as Operation Clean Sweep is not only environmentally sound, but also makes good business sense,” Mackintosh concluded.  

Plastics|SA is a signatory of the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, a global declaration and public commitment made by the international plastics community to address the issue of plastics in the marine environment, which includes Operation Clean Sweep, which was launched in March 2011.


For more information, visit or


Environmental Education critical

National educational frameworks have ensured that environmental themes are now part of learning areas in schools.  However, due to lack of resources at many schools, many environmental bodies, in collaboration with schools, are providing much needed education on South Africa’s environmental problems such as marine and land pollution, insufficient water, land degradation and deforestation.

One of Plastics|SA’s key focus areas is just that: education and training. 

The Sustainability Division runs various programmes and projects nationwide, aimed at changing behaviour and highlighting the need to take responsibility for our actions.

School Education Programme

PlasticsǀSA has identified three coastal catchment areas, where education programmes will be taking place to educate the local community on saving the marine environment by avoiding polluting the river ways. Aqua Amazing is the PlasticsǀSA partner in the eThekwini catchment area, where Steven Mabugana conducts shark dissection to create awareness of the impact humans have on the rivers and ocean.  He will be visiting 20 schools before the end of 2017 as part of this Project.

We also recently exhibited at the Sustainable Living Expo (Durban Exhibition Centre) where hundreds of learners saw the sad reality of what marine debris is doing to the ocean and its inhabitants.

Recycling Training

  • PlasticsǀSA recently trained new staff at Re-Cycle-It in Howick (KZN). The new recycling company has started collecting packaging materials including; plastics, paper, metals and glass.
  • Durban Solid Waste support waste pickers in Durban with training. PlasticsǀSA assisted DSW with an overview of recycling in South Africa and educated the pickers on what types of materials are recycled and what products can be made from them.

If you would like more information on these education and training opportunities, please contact

Support the Clear Rivers Campaign in July

The Department of Water and Sanitation is calling on all South Africans and visitors in the country to join in the Clear Rivers Campaign during the Month of July.

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to foster communities that are actively involved and engaged in the management of water resources in the country, as well as to help communities become water savvy and environmentally conscious.

As the campaign falls during the Month of July it will be closely associated with volunteerism that is promoted during July, as part of the Mandela Month activities.

Through a collaborative effort, communities, regional and national departmental officials, the private sector and other sectors of society are invited to join in and make a difference in the upkeep of the environment by dedicating their time to cleaning rivers, acknowledging the need to protect and efficiently use water resources.

Last year the Department together with Plastics|SA and other partners cleared more than 50 rivers.  This year, Plastics|SA will once again be sponsoring bags and gloves and participating in river cleanups.

To find a river closest to you, follow this link.

For more information contact: Department of Water & Sanitation: Sputnik Ratau at 082 874 2942


21st International Coastal Cleanup


Clean-up and Recycle SA Week will take place this year from 11 – 17 September 2017, with various clean-ups being planned for neighbourhoods, water sources and beaches around the country. One of the highlights of this annual environmental awareness event, will be the 21st International Coastal Clean-Up that will take place on Saturday, 16 September 2017.


Clean-up and Recycle SA Week is an annual initiative by the local plastics industry, supported and endorsed by the various packaging and retail streams and retailers. Each year, close to 120 000 volunteers participate in these clean-up activities that take place along roadsides, rivers, schools, residential and illegal dumping areas. The initiative is supported by provincial governments, local municipalities, environmental organisations, businesses, schools and communities.

“The aim of this week is to increase an awareness of the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling.  During this time, we encourage communities, schools and businesses to clean-up the areas where they work, live and play by collecting the litter and ensuring that it gets recycled,” explains Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director of Plastics|SA.

International Coastal Clean-Up Day: Harnessing the Power of People to Fight Ocean Litter

One of the highlights of Clean-up and Recycle SA week, is South Africa’s participation in the International Coastal Clean-up Day (ICC) – the world’s biggest annual volunteer effort for ocean health that sees thousands of people flock to beaches to pick up and remove litter found in the marine environment.

“Ocean Conservancy is the international coordinator of the ICC, but Plastics|SA coordinates the beach clean-ups that take place in the three Cape provinces, as well as various river clean-ups that take place inland. We are proud to partner with KZN Marine Waste Network members who take responsibility for coordinating beach clean-ups at major beaches in KwaZulu-Natal.  To date, nearly 12 million people have been part of the world’s biggest volunteer effort to protect the ocean, and South Africa is a major part of this success story,” Steyn says.


Last year’s event was dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela and saw more clean-ups taking place in areas where little or no area cleansing is done by local authorities, whilst large groups of school children also participated in organized clean-ups around the provinces.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in the number of clean-ups being organised inland at rivers, streams and other water sources as the public are realising that trash travels. All litter eventually finds its way to our country’s oceans and onto the beaches”, Steyn explained.


Approximately 75% of ocean litter is derived from land based waste. Without effective waste collection, an avalanche of debris will enter the ocean. To prevent this, Plastics|SA encourages South Africans of all ages, races and backgrounds to participate in this year’s Clean-up and Recycle Week SA activities.

This year, together with ICC, Plastics|SA is a proud supporter of one of the biggest national clean-up collaborations on this day, partnering with the  Let’s Do It!  Africa campaign and the WESSA Tourism Blue Flag Project (a National Department of Tourism funded coastal conservation and youth development project) to support or implement a number of registered ICC coastal clean-ups from the west to the east coasts of SA. This collaborative effort will mark one year to the big World Clean-up Day on 15 September 2018.

“At its core, ocean trash is a people problem – perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. It affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue.

This year we are celebrating our 21st year of being involved in the International Coastal Clean-up Day. In human years, we would now be considered an adult, and have to adopt adult ways.  Our sincere hope is that South Africans will mature in the way we consider litter by realising the impact our actions have on the environment. We can turn the tide on waste if we all work together!” concludes Steyn.

For more information or to participate in the 2017 International Coastal Clean-Up, visit  |

Alternatively, contact the following coordinators:


Plastics|SA and Nelson Mandela Foundation team up

#action against Poverty

To celebrate 20 years of Clean-up and Recycle Week last year, Plastics|SA dedicated  the 2016 Clean-up and Recycle Week to Nelson Mandela.  We are proud to announce that Plastics|SA will once again team up with the Nelson Mandela Foundation this year, to make Cleanup and Recycle Week 2017 yet another success, spreading the message of taking action to save our Environment.

On Wednesday 10 May, key stakeholders were invited to participate in the Launch of Nelson Mandela Day (16 July) and Plastics|SA was there to celebrate this auspicious occasion which took place at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has decided to dedicate 2017 to honouring a great statesman and making every day a Mandela Day by encouraging everyone to take action against poverty in a way that will bring about sustainable change.

Douw Steyn, Tobela Tapula and Jacques Lightfoot from Plastics|SA enjoying the celebrations.

CEO – Nelson Mandela Foundation: Sello Hatang, Phindile Ndlovu, WITS SRC and Plastics|SA’s Tobela Tapula

Yasser Godlo, Manager: Mandela Day, addressed the guests on their plans to help alleviate poverty.

Plastics|SA Clean-up Crews keep Cape Town Beautiful during major races

The Plastics|SA Clean-Up Crew was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the routes and surrounding areas for three of Cape Town’s biggest spectator events were kept clean and litter-free.

View on YouTube.

For the 10th consecutive year, Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Manager, John Kieser, coordinated three clean-up crews to quickly and effectively pick up all waste generated by athletes and spectators who attended the Cape Town Cycle Tour (CTCT) (which was unfortunately cancelled due to high winds), SA Navy Festival which took place from the 17th to the 19th of March and the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half and Ultra Marathons that took place on the 14th and 15th of April respectively.

A feather in the cap for the plastics industry

“These three events took place during March and April, and attracted thousands of visitors from around the country and the rest of the world who descended on the Mother City. It was no small task to ensure that all the water and energy drink sachets used by the athletes and the litter strewn by the spectators were picked up as quickly as possible and with as little disruption to the events or the traffic,” Kieser explained. This year, Plastics|SA was given the full responsibility of greening the events, and once again partnered with waste management company WastePlan to ensure that all recyclable material collected was sent away for recycling.

More than 39 000 kg of waste was collected by the three Plastics|SA Clean-Up Crews that cleaned up the routes used by the athletes during the recent Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, as well as left behind by visitors to the annual SA Navy Festival and the cancelled Cape Town Cycle Tour.

According to Douw Steyn, Director: Sustainability at Plastics|SA, the majority of the waste collected during these annual events is made up of plastic, which has a high recycling value.

“We work hard to ensure that this packaging is kept out of the environment and off the streets by employing a clean-up crew of 205 cleaners from Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Athlone.  Many of the members of these clean-up crews have been working with us for the past 10 years on race days, and are trained to quickly and effectively sweep the areas”.

Steyn remarked that it was clear from this year’s events that athletes and spectators had a heightened awareness of the importance of not littering and keeping their environmental footprint as small as possible.

“The organizers of this year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon did an excellent job with their #GOGREEN anti-littering campaign that was launched prior to the race.  Runners were aware of their responsibility to help us keep the routes as clean as possible by making use of the Throw Zones for their water and energy drink sachets, which greatly assisted the efforts of our clean-up crews. Our waste management partner, Wasteplan, recorded the volumes of the mixed recycling that was collected after the races and that will be transformed into at least 500 school desks for needy schools in and around Cape Town,” Steyn says.

The Plastics|SA Clean-Up crews were also responsible for collecting the waste generated by spectators attending the SA Navy Festival and the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March.  “Although the cycle race was cancelled due to extremely windy conditions, our teams were hard at work prior to the race day and after break-up by the maintenance crews to ensure that the roads were left litter-free.  Large volumes of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), aluminium cooldrink cans and Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) were also collected by the clean-up crews at the SA Navy Festival.

“We look back at two very busy, but very rewarding months. Under the guidance of Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Manager, John Kieser, our crews did a phenomenal job of collecting the waste and raising awareness about the importance of recycling.  We applaud the organizers of all three events for their pro-active approach to waste management and event greening,” Steyn concludes.

“Over the years, the active and visible involvement of the Plastics|SA clean-up team and the PETCO branded bins and truck at these events has helped to create an awareness of the plastics industry’s dedication to ensuring that the waste footprint is kept as small as possible,” Kieser said.  Each year, several truckloads of plastic waste are collected and sent away to the Kraaifontein Material Recovering Facility (MRF) for recycling, whilst food waste is sent to Noordhoek for composting.

The unsung heroes of event greening

The majority of the waste collected during these events is plastic waste, which has a high recycling value.  The City of Cape Town played a major role in boosting the clean-up efforts by ensuring that the routes for these annual events were cleaned prior to the race days.

“Both the cycle race and the marathon have various refreshment stations where close to 20 000 bags each are handed out to the athletes. The SA Navy Festival saw up to 50 000 people visiting the harbour per day. On top of this, the weather at these events also played a big role, as the notorious Cape winds present their own set of challenges for the waste collectors,” Kieser said.

Advertising campaign to support the clean-up efforts

Whilst the clean-up crews were busy cleaning the roads, Plastics|SA was supporting their efforts with an extensive marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of keeping our environment clean, spreading anti-littering and recycling messages.

A great deal still needs to be done to educate the public about littering and responsible participation in large events. Our “event greening” not only provides a much-needed service to the City of Cape Town and event organisers, but also offers us a highly visible platform to showcase the Sustainability Council’s commitment to waste management and recycling. To this end, we supported the clean-up efforts with a print ad campaign that appeared in selected in-flight and trade magazines, as well as on a large billboard at the Cape Town International Airport.

Our pay-off line for the campaign was: “When YOU recycle, we all win” and appealed to all the cyclists,athletes and other visitors to Cape Town during the past two months to help keep the Mother City beautiful.

Radio and TV adverts (view on YouTube) and on-air interviews were heard on local Cape Town radio stations, including KFM, Smile FM, Heart FM, Radio Tygerberg and CCFM during the months of February, March and April, whilst Plastics|SA also exhibited at the Green Point Stadium, the Navy Festival in Simonstown and at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

10 second Event Greening (English)

I can be so much more (English) 

Ek kan soveel meer wees (Afrikaans)

“We are very excited and proud to be part of these events and take the responsibility that has been given to us very seriously.  We aim to improve on previous years’ successes and recycling rates,” Kieser concludes.









International Conference on Marine Waste in Africa

The inaugural African Marine Waste Conference was managed by the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) under the leadership of Dr Tony Ribbink, CEO of SST, and aimed to continue the concerted effort of better managing marine litter with the help of governments, NGOs, researchers and other stakeholders across the African continent.

African Marine Debris Summits in South Africa

Plastics|SA hosted the first two African Marine Debris Summits that took place in Cape Town in 2014 and 2016 with the support of UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), the Department of Environmental Affairs and SANBI (SA National Biodiversity Institute), and also participated in the launch of the African Marine Waste Network that took place in Port Elizabeth in July last year.

“This year’s conference built on the initiative started three years ago to create a platform for African and international delegates and experts to discuss issues relating to marine waste around the African continent, including data and research, capacity building, prosperity through the development of economic enterprises centred on waste management, education and awareness and the role of the consumer, government, industry and municipalities.

The focus at this year’s event was on finding innovative solutions that would cater to African circumstances and cultures and using opportunities to shape a brighter future for the human health, economies and environments of Africa.

By bringing together delegates primarily from Africa, along with advisors from other continents, a variety of different sectors and insights were represented. We participated in various fruitful discussions and debates on issues relating to marine waste in Africa, enabling us to develop a strategic plan entitled “Marine Waste Strategy: Guide to Action for Africa”, for tackling and alleviating the continent’s waste problems.

In addition to presentations, panel discussions and parallel sessions, workshops on microplastics, data and research, and mobile applications were also held over the duration of the conference. Plastics|SA chaired an industry workshop featuring participants from various sectors. Industry representatives, scientists, educators, waste disposal experts and the maritime sector were encouraged to engage in a debate which aimed to identify the issues that have the biggest impact on the marine environment.

Plastics Industry commitment

The plastics industry has long been involved in efforts to reduce plastic marine litter, from conducting research to enhancing product stewardship to cleaning up beaches. As the umbrella body representing the entire South African Plastics industry and a signatory of the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, Plastics|SA will continue to support and collaborate with industry efforts aimed at combatting marine litter.

“We recognise that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but look back at very big inroads that we have already managed to make to address the problem head-on and offer real solutions.

If we continue to take the right steps, we believe that waste can indeed become profitable to countries of Africa. The environment, human health and tourism are but a few areas that stand to benefit significantly if we are to devise a workable strategy for managing waste in and around our continent,” Steyn concluded.






Preparing for an uncertain future

A key strategy of the PlasticsǀSA Sustainability Council is Resource Efficiency.  It is also one of Plastics|SA’s mandates that we facilitate the link between service providers and the plastics industry in terms of protecting and growing the South African plastics industry.

During times of economic downturn, energy and water solutions are of integral importance to remain competitive and profitable. PlasticsǀSA has identified leading industry partners NCPC, DRA Global, Solareff and EE Publishers as key sources of expertise in the field of resource efficiency and recently hosted a seminar, in conjunction with DRA Global, to find out just how critical these challenges are and what we can do to mitigate their effects.

dsc_0006L to R:  Wynand van der Merwe, Chris Yelland, Gerard Grobler, Jacques Lightfoot and Miguel dos Santos.



 Jacques Lightfoot, Sustainability Manager, Plastics|SA

If you weren’t able to attend this seminar, download the presentations below, and be sure to join us at the next seminar.  We will keep you posted on future dates.

Making sense of energy in a chaotic environment, Chris Yelland, well known journalist and winner of the SANEA Journalism Award for “special efforts within the field of journalism to promote greater understanding of energy and its role in sustaining human endeavours”.

Switch Africa Green ‘Enhancing industry resource productivity and environmental performance, Maggie Matumba, NCPC

The role of Green Skills Development in the transition to a sustainable Low Carbon Economy, Wynand Van Der Merwe, NCPC

DRA/Solareff Introduction, Miguel Dos Santos, DRA and Gerard Grobler, Solareff

For more information, or if you would like to present at future seminars, kindly contact



1 2 3 5