How PE-LD plastic is recycled in South Africa

Low-density polyethylene (PE-LD) is the most widely-recycled packaging polymer in South Africa. It is used to manufacture grocery packets, plastic films, plastic sheets, flexible hoses and cable insulation. PE-LD is fairly easy to recycle and has many beneficial uses – making it the most popular packaging material in the country.

 

Most of the plastics used for packaging applications are mechanically recycled in South Africa. These materials are often picked, sorted and washed by hand before being processed. PE-LD follows a similar process when it is sent to a recycling facility to be turned into recyclate. Interestingly, there is a 100% conversion rate for PE-LD, meaning that none of the recyclate is wasted or left behind.

 

How PE-LD is recycled

 

Firstly, discarded PE-LD packaging is collected by waste management companies and informal waste pickers working at landfills. They source and collect the plastic before bailing them into bundles for transport. These compacted bundles of PE-LD waste are then taken to recycling facilities where the process begins.

 

The PE-LD bundles are undone and the plastic is separated by grade. Due to the many applications and products made using PE-LD, the materials will have various qualities. The plastic waste is cleaned thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris and contaminants. This makes sure that the PE-LD recyclate batch is pure. Any contaminants or dirt could spoil the entire batch and ruin the quality of the end product.

 

The PE-LD waste is then fed into a large shredder that turns the plastic into thin strips. These shreds of plastic sheet are then fed into a second washer and float tank, where grains of sand and dirt sink to the bottom of the water tank. The plastic floats on the surface of the water and is skimmed at the end of the tank.

 

The plastic shreds are then dried and fed into a large oven which melts the plastic into a new sheet which is cooled and dried. This sheet of PE-LD polymer is bailed and sold back to plastics manufacturers and packaging producers. Recycled PE-LD is used to manufacture numerous flexible products, such as bin liners, flexible buckets, irrigation hoses and construction sheeting.

 

PE-LD can be reused in the home

 

This polymer is highly durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear for its weight. Consumers should always aim to reuse their PE-LD packets and plastic sheets before discarding them. Sandwich bags can be washed and reused, as can Zip Lock bags. Grocery bags made from PE-LD can be used again and again when visiting the supermarkets.

 

Contractors and painters can reuse their black plastic sheeting multiple times before throwing it away. The flexibility, lightweight and durability of this polymer lends itself to multiple reuse, making PE-LD a valuable plastic. By reusing these products, consumers can save a lot of money. If discarding PE-LD is necessary, at least it can be recycled, which benefits the local economy and the environment.

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Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. ​Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.

 

​Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.

 

For more news, updates and information on the South African plastics industry, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Bioplastics are not the same as biodegradable plastics

When it comes to plastic alternatives, there are two materials that consumers are likely to encounter; bioplastics and biodegradable plastics. These are separate products that are often confused. People think that bioplastics and biodegradable plastics are one and the same, but in reality, they are not.

 

Both of these materials are fairly new developments that are growing in popularity around the world, as well as in South Africa. They are both marketed as alternatives to traditional plastics and are used in similar applications. However, that is where the similarities end. The differences between bioplastics and biodegradable plastics are outlined below.

 

What are these materials made from?

 

Bioplastics are not just one single material but comprise of a whole family of materials with different properties and applications. “Bioplastics” refers to plastics made from plant or other

biological materials – it does not speak to the biodegradability or compostability of the

Product. Bioplastics are made from corn, sugar cane or starch. They have the same characteristics as oil-based plastics but are made from renewable sources.

 

Biodegradable plastics, on the other hand, are made from fossil fuels such as oil. In theory, they can be degraded by biological processes. However, many so-called biodegradable plastics do not decompose as intended in the natural environment. Biodegradable plastics are not always bio-based (made from plants) and bioplastics are not always biodegradable.

 

Why use bioplastics?

 

The main benefit of bioplastics is that they are made from naturally-occuring and renewable materials. They reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and oils which also helps to lower carbon emissions. Bioplastics can be made from genetically modified plants or from natural feedstock – neither of which are food sources for humans. These resources can be regrown every year, unlike oil and fossil fuels.

 

Another advantage of bioplastics over biodegradable plastics is that they can be recycled with conventional packaging waste. Bioplastics can be processed at a recycling facility in the same way as regular plastic, whereas biodegradable plastic must be separated from the waste stream and processed separately.

 

Bioplastics are perfectly suited to mechanical recycling. On the other hand, biodegradable plastics must be sent to an industrial composting facility where they can take up to three months to decompose. Manufacturing bioplastics is a fairly complicated process and quite an energy-intensive operation, but as the technology develops and further tests are completed, we could soon see plastic products being made from green resources.

Winner of Caroline Reid Award 2019 announced

Alison Bryant of the Keep Plett Campaign is the winner of the Caroline Reid Award for the Cleanup Champion of 2019 – a  new, annual award established by Plastics|SA to recognise and reward excellence in South Africa by an individual in the field of marine and coastal clean-ups.

Making the announcement during a gala dinner to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Marine & Coastal Educators Network (MCEN) held at the Zeekoevlei Yacht Club in Cape Town last week, Douw Steyn and John Kieser of Plastics SA awarded Alison with a R10 000 cash prize and a  floating trophy.

Read more.

A brief history of the major plastic polymers

Plastics are such a vital part of modern life; we have become unaware of how much we rely on them every day. However, many plastic polymers have only been around for a few decades. Life before these innovative materials was very different. They have made modern living simpler and safer, thanks to their durability, affordability and versatility.

The first major discovery of a plastic polymer was made in 1862. Since then, new polymers have been developed and discovered continuously – rapidly increasing from the end of the 1920s. Here is a brief history of each of the major plastic polymers and how they have changed the way in which we live.

Parkesine 

First developed in 1862, Parkesine was the first man-made plastic. It’s inventor, Alexander Parkes, revealed the plant-based polymer at the Great International Exhibition in London. Parkesine is a transparent and mouldable plastic that retains its shape when cooled. It was first marketed as a cheaper alternative to rubber, allowing users to mould and create whatever they needed.

Celluloid

In 1865, John Wesley Hyatt developed a new way to make billiard balls from cellulose nitrate. This material was far cheaper than the traditional ivory balls. Soon afterward, companies began manufacturing numerous products from celluloid, such as bowls and combs, as a cheaper alternative to bone, tortoiseshell and other expensive materials.

Rayon

This modified celluloid polymer was developed in Paris by Louis Marie Hilaire Bernigaut in 1891. He was looking for a way to manufacture a substitute for silk – a polymer that could be extruded into thin, shiny strands and woven together to form a silky fabric. Bernigaut called the polymer rayon because it had a shiny appearance that reflected rays of light.

Bakelite

In 1907, a completely synthetic plastic was developed that retained its shape and form, even under stress and heat. Bakelite became extremely popular in the 1920s when numerous products were manufactured from the polymer. Plastic jewellery, telephones and clocks became popular as people embraced the unique appearance of Bakelite.

Cellophane

Cellophane was invented by a Swiss chemist in 1912 who was looking to create a waterproof tablecloth. Later, in 1927, cellophane was used to wrap sweets and candies which really punted its use in the food industry to new heights. This moisture-resistant polymer kept the sweets fresh for longer as water vapour in the air could not affect the sugary treats within the wrapping.

Vinyl

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) was developed in the 1920s to replace natural rubber. It quickly became known as one of the most versatile plastics. It is commonly used to make medical tubing, plumbing pipes and construction products. PVC can be both rigid and flexible, which was why it became so popular in a number of industries.

Polyethylene

This widely-used plastic was first developed in the 1930s in the United Kingdom. Polyethylene is the most popular polymer to date and is the mainstay of modern packaging. It is used to create polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beverage bottles, high-density polyethylene (PE-HD) containers and low-density (PE-LD) shopping bags. 

Polyvinylidene Chloride

Not to be confused with PVC, this polymer was discovered by accident in 1933. It was initially used to protect military and naval equipment from the effects of saltwater at sea due to its ability to cling to other materials and form a protective barrier. Polyvinylidene chloride is also used as a protective film for food packaging and is marketed as “Saran wrap”.

Nylon

This polymer changed the entire textiles and clothing industry. Nylon was developed in 1939, after which DuPont unveiled women’s stockings made from nylon at the World Fair in New York. Nylon quickly became an affordable man-made alternative to silk and cotton, finding particular use in military clothing during World War II.

Polyester

Polyester was first discovered in the 1940s, but only gained significant popularity in the 1950s. DuPont marketed a new fabric under the name “Dacron”, which was simply woven polyester strands. This became the first washable synthetic fabric and the textile industry has never been the same.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene (PP) came about in the 1950s but it began with a legal battle over its true inventors. It is a highly-versatile plastic that is used to manufacture a variety of moulded products, such as dairy tubs for butter and ice cream, plastic furniture, buckets, car bumpers, fibres and woven cloth. It can be used in almost all plastic applications.

Polystyrene foam

Also called expanded polystyrene, this polymer was developed in 1954 by Dow Chemicals. The company introduced the polymer under the brand name “Styrofoam” and was marketed as a lightweight protective packaging product. It is used to make packaging peanuts, takeaway food containers and coffee cups.

These polymers have become so widely used that we don’t even notice the importance of plastics in our daily lives. The innovations that led to the development of some of these products are often underappreciated. Plastics have a vital role to play in modern living, the economy and even the environment.

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Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. ​Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.

​Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.

For more news, updates and information on the South African plastics industry, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Four cool facts about plastics recycling

The main benefit of most plastics is that they are recyclable. We can keep existing materials in circulation and reuse most plastic products over and over again. Plastics are a valuable material – they are cheap to manufacture and are used in every aspect of daily life. They also require little energy to produce and recycle, making these durable products carbon-efficient.

The South African recycling industry is one of the best in the world. In 2018 alone, the sector processed 352 000 tonnes of plastic waste back into raw material. That’s 15% more than in Europe. The industry provides income opportunities for around 60 000 South Africans, contributing just under R2.3-billion to the economy. Here are four more facts about plastics recycling that you may not know:

1. Used packaging isn’t always recycled into new packaging

Recyclers clean, shred and extrude plastic waste into small pellets that are then sold back to plastics manufacturers as raw material. While certain polymers are separated from the waste stream and processed together, it does not necessarily mean that they will be turned into similar products – PET bottles don’t always get recycled back into PET bottles. Some of these plastics are turned into toys, garden furniture, clothing, duvet inners, floor mats and even car bumpers.

2. Bottles can be recycled into clothing

Building on from the previous point, plastic bottles are often turned into woven fabrics for the clothing and textile industry. The PET plastic waste is cleaned, shredded, melted and stretched into thin threads of plastic. These threads are then woven together, just like cotton, to produce rolls of material that can be turned into shopping bags, t-shirts and even fleece jackets.

3. Plastics recyclers want your lids

Many people discard their lids in the general waste bin. Bottle caps, butter tub lids and other removable lids are just as valuable as the actual containers themselves. In fact, recyclers want these plastic products because they are usually clean, label-free and easy to process. Consumers should always put the lids back on the containers and discard them in a recycling bin.

4. Plastic shopping bags can be recycled

There is a myth that plastic shopping bags cannot be recycled. While this may have been true a decade ago, new technologies and recycling processes have allowed recyclers to process thin grocery bags. The same goes for cling films, zip-lock bags, product wraps and other flexible packaging materials. In fact, shopping bags are 100% recyclable, meaning that there is no wasted material in the recycling process.

These four facts about recycling show why it is such an important industry in modern life and how it supports tens of thousands of South Africans. Every citizen has a responsibility to dispose of their plastic waste in a responsible manner by placing it in a recycling bin. Companies and plastics manufacturers are already doing everything they can to ensure that these products are used properly and are recycled effectively.

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Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. ​Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.

​Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.

For more news, updates and information on the South African plastics industry, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Tetra Pak launches first plant-based bioplastic packaging

Tetra Pak, the multinational food packaging and processing company, has become the first business in the industry to use plant-based bioplastic packaging. These polymers are created from sugarcane and form part of Tetra Pak’s commitment to follow ethical and responsible business practices, called the ‘Planet Positive’ initiative.

 

This initiative encourages industry stakeholders to take a closer look at sustainability, the low-carbon circular economy, recycling and reuse. It aims to make stakeholders think about the carbon impact of raw materials and manufacturing. 

 

Tetra Pak lowers carbon footprint

 

The use of bioplastic packaging will also lower the company’s global carbon footprint. “We’ve seen a growing trend of consumers wanting to do more for the planet, and they look to brands to help,” says the Tetra Pak vice president of sustainability, Mario Abreu.

 

The bioplastic packaging is certified by Bonsucro – an international not-for-profit organisation that aims to promote sustainable sugarcane by reducing the environmental impacts of sugarcane production. 

 

“Today, 91% of consumers look for environmental logos when shopping, and Bonsucro Chain of Custody Certification can be used to communicate credible information to consumers, thereby helping our customers differentiate their products,” explains Abreu.

 

Plant-based bioplastic packaging is fully traceable

 

According to Tetra Pak, the new bioplastic packaging is fully traceable to their sugarcane origin. “We see plant-based materials as playing a key role in achieving a low-carbon circular economy. In the future, all polymers we use will either be made from plant-based materials or from post-consumption recycled food grades,” states Abreu.

 

The use of plant-based materials such as bioplastics, instead of oil-based plastics, can help packaging manufacturers to lower their carbon emissions. These plant-based polymers are created from sustainable and renewable sources. They also help to support the agricultural sector in South Africa, especially local sugarcane plantations.

 

The sugarcane-based bioplastic is supplied to Tetra Pak by Braskem. “We have been working with Tetra Pak for more than 10 years, and Bonsucro Chain of Custody reinforces the Responsible Ethanol Sourcing Program from Braskem with the assurance and traceability of the entire sugarcane value chain, all the way back to the growers and mills,” explains Braskem renewable business leader Gustavo Sergi. 

 

Bioplastics are an emerging alternative to traditional plastics and are gaining popularity worldwide. Currently, the use of bioplastics is quite low and there are no established waste collection and recycling centres for these plant-based polymers. However, they can be recycled alongside their traditional counterparts – bioPET can be recycled with PET plastics. The more multinational companies that turn to bioplastics, the quicker these products will be refined and perfected.

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Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. ​Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.

 

​Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.

For more news, updates and information on the South African plastics industry, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Surprising facts about plastics and the environment

It’s undeniable that plastics play a huge part in our daily lives, from the nylon seatbelts we wear in cars to the plastic bags that keep our food fresh. Plastics keep us safe, healthy and benefit our lives in too many ways to count. But did you know that they can also benefit the environment? 

Plastics get a lot of criticism when it comes to litter and pollution, but they can actually help to save the planet – especially when used and disposed of properly and responsibly. They can play a large role in sustainability and helping us to lower our environmental impact. Here are some surprising facts about plastics and the environment.

1. Plastic packaging reduces all types of waste

Plastics are widely used as a packaging material. They are strong, lightweight and durable. They protect our products from damage and our food from spoiling too quickly. In this regard, plastic packaging actually reduces waste by protecting our goods and foods. They allow us to use our products and eat our food; without packaging, these items would simply be discarded before they could be sold.

Numerous life cycle studies have found that plastic packaging actually delivers more food with significantly less waste. They also use less energy and have a lower global warming potential than most of the plastic alternatives currently available. By extending the shelf life of products and foods, plastic packaging can prevent a lot more waste.

2. Plastics lower our environmental impact

Plastics can actually help humans to minimise their environmental impact by reducing waste, energy use and carbon emissions. A recent study found that the environmental cost of using plastics in consumer products is nearly four times less than the cost of using other materials. The study suggests that replacing plastics with alternative materials will be more expensive because plastics allow us to do more with less material.

3. Plastics help to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions

Some cars on the road today are made up of about 50% plastic components by volume, from interior panels and dashboards to bumpers and engine housings. Plastic is a lightweight material and as we know, lighter cars use less fuel. Plastics help us to minimise our fuel consumption which, in turn, reduces carbon emissions.

A 10% reduction in vehicle weight can improve fuel efficiency by up to 8% over the lifespan of the car. Certain plastic components, such as underbody shields, help to improve the aerodynamics of our cars. This further improves fuel efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions from modern vehicles. 

4. Plastics in the construction sector help to save energy

Plastic building and insulation products help us to save energy by keeping our homes at a comfortable temperature. This minimises the need for air conditioning or heating, both of which consume large amounts of electricity. These building products, such as polystyrene pipe insulation and plastic-based sealants, allow homeowners to reduce their overall energy consumption – saving money and the environment at the same time.

5. Plastic recycling is saving the environment and creating a sustainable economy

South Africa has one of the best recycling industries in the world – last year we recycled 15% more plastic waste than Europe. Recycling infrastructure and initiatives are growing year-on-year, allowing us to reuse more plastic materials than ever and keep them in circulation. 

This benefits the environment as it keeps plastic waste out of landfills. These materials can sometimes be washed into rivers during rainstorms or blown away in the wind. By recycling plastics, we are keeping existing materials in circulation and out of nature. The entire recycling industry also supports around 60 000 South Africans and generated just under R2.3-billion for the national economy last year alone.

These facts all show how plastics can be used to benefit the environment. If used properly and responsibly, plastic products and packaging can lower our environmental impact by reducing waste, carbon emissions and energy usage. They allow us to do more with less material. Plastics should always be disposed of in a recycling bin, never dumped or littered.

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Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. ​Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.

​Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.

For more news, updates and information on the South African plastics industry, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Top tips for using plastics to store leftover food

Plastics are the perfect material for storing leftover food and keeping it fresh for a little while longer. They are non-toxic and non-reactive, so do not contaminate food. Plastics tubs and containers can also come in a variety of shapes and sizes – some include airtight seals that keep food fresh for even longer. They can also be used to store food in the freezer.

 

Plastics help to reduce food waste and save us money. By not having to throw away leftover food, we can save money at the grocery store by buying fewer ingredients and food items. Plastics play an important role in our lives – sometimes we are not even aware of it. Here are our top tips for storing leftover food.

 

Tip 1: Store leftover food in a sealable plastic container within two hours after cooking. These leftovers can be placed in the fridge or freezer, depending on the type of food.

 

Tip 2: The less air in the container, the better. When storing leftovers in a sealable plastic bag, squeeze out as much air as possible. This helps to save space and prevent freezer burn.

 

Tip 3: Store different food items from a meal in different containers. Meats must be separated from starches, which must be separated from vegetables. This prevents food from spoiling faster and avoids cross-contamination if one food does go off.

 

Tip 4: Store leftover food in shallow and wide plastic containers. This helps to cool the food down more quickly when placed in the fridge or freezer. Deep containers take longer to cool or thaw.

 

Tip 5: Remember that freezing food may prevent the growth of mold and microbes, but it does not kill any bacteria that already exists in the leftovers. When removing these foods from the freezer, do not let them thaw and sit at room temperature for too long before eating or recooking. If possible, thaw leftover food in the fridge for 24 hours before needed.

 

Tip 6: Sealable plastic bags, heavy-duty cling films and plastic containers with wide openings are the best plastic products to use for storing frozen foods in the freezer. Some plastics are temperature resistant, so are not ideal for use in a freezer. Always check the container to see if it is labelled as safe for use in a freezer.

 

Tip 7: If in doubt, throw it out! If you are ever suspicious of leftover food, either because it looks soft and watery or if it has a slight smell, it is safest to throw it away. Food poisoning is not only painful and unpleasant, it can actually be quite dangerous too.

 

These tips will help consumers to safely store their leftover food in plastic containers and sealable bags. By keeping food fresh for longer, we can consume it before it spoils and save money at the grocery store. Plastics play such an important role in the home, especially when it comes to food and cooking.

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Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. ​Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.

 

​Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.

 

For more news, updates and information on the South African plastics industry, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Major global vehicle manufacturer recycles over 1-billion plastic bottles

Plastics are such important materials for daily life. We can find them anywhere we look; they have multiple uses in all aspects of society, from the home and work to medicine and construction. Plastics can even be found in the automotive industry. Did you know that Ford uses recycled plastics on its vehicles?

 

The global vehicle manufacturer recycles over 1-billion plastic bottles every year and turns them into vehicle parts, such as underbody shields and wheel arch liners. “The underbody shield is a large part and, for a part that big, if we use solid plastic it would likely weigh three times as much,” says Ford design engineer Thomas Sweder.

 

Ford first started using recycled plastics in the 1990s, however, over the last two decades, the need and uses for plastic vehicle components have grown exponentially. This means that the amount of raw plastic required by vehicle manufacturers has risen dramatically. By using recycled plastics, Ford is helping to establish a circular economy and adding to the environmental and economic benefits of the recycling industry.

 

How plastic bottles are turned into vehicle parts

 

It takes around 300 plastic bottles to manufacture all the plastic components for a single vehicle. Plastic bottles are collected from recycling bins and processed at local recycling facilities. The recyclate is then sold to suppliers who extrude it and turn it into a fibre. 

 

These fibres are woven together with other materials in a textile process to make a sheet of lightweight plastic material, which is then used to make the automotive parts. “We look for the best materials to work with to make our parts and, in this case, we are also creating many environmental benefits,” explains Sweder. 

 

Plastics help to improve vehicle performance

 

Due to its lightweight characteristics and durability, recycled plastic is the ideal material for non-cosmetic components such as underbody shields and wheel arch liners. These parts help to improve the aerodynamic efficiency and the fuel economy of the vehicles. 

 

“Ford is among the leaders when it comes to using materials such as this, and we do it because it makes sense, technically and economically, as much as it makes sense for the environment. This material is very well suited for the parts we’re making, and is extremely functional,” states Sweder. 

 

In South Africa, Ford has established recycling programmes at its dealerships and manufacturing plants. The company also encourages all of its suppliers to recycle their plastic waste. This helps to minimise the volume of plastics that end up in landfills and also support the local recycling industry.

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Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. ​Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.

 

​Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.

For more news, updates and information on the South African plastics industry, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

How to use recycled plastics in your home

Recycled plastics have endless functions in modern life; they can be used in almost any application imaginable. One of the major end markets for recycled plastic is the furniture and houseware industry. A combined total of 14% of all recycled plastics are sold and used in the South African furniture and houseware sectors – that’s around 50 000 tonnes of plastic being repurposed and recycled into usable products for the home every year.

 

Recycled plastics can be used in a decorative fashion or as useable household items that serve a purpose. These materials can be used to update and refresh a living space or provide a functional use that makes life easier for the homeowner. Many people are not aware that they probably already have recycled plastic products in their homes. This is why the plastics recycling industry is a vital cog of modern society.

 

Not only does recycling give these versatile polymers a second chance at life, but it also helps to preserve the environment and support the national economy. Consumers should aim to recycle or reuse as much of their plastic waste as possible. Here are some tips on how to use recycled plastics in your home.

 

Using recycled plastics in the kitchen

 

There are so many plastic kitchen products available that have been produced from recycled plastics, such as cutlery, cooking utensils, mixing bowls, fridge magnets and chopping boards. Many of these products are made from recycled milk bottles or ice cream tubs. They are highly durable and can withstand many years of use in the kitchen.

 

Cooking utensils made from recycled plastic, such as spatulas and spoons, are highly resistant to high temperatures and are non-toxic – making them perfect for food contact use and cooking. Many of these products are designed to be ergonomic with a modern aesthetic, transforming them into both decorative and functional kitchenware, at the same time.

 

Recycled plastics for the living spaces

 

A few bright and colourful decorative items – made from recycled plastics, of course – can help to brighten up any living space. They can be used to give a living room or bedroom a bold streak of colour. Recycled plastic products such as rugs, seating cubes, vases and picture frames can be used as stylish décor elements that breathe life into an otherwise dull room. So many homes are styled in neutral tones and grey colour schemes, so use recycled plastics to add some playfulness.

 

Recycled plastics in the bathroom

 

There are numerous uses for recycled plastics in the bathroom. Recycled polystyrene can be turned into functional woven baskets that can be used to store cosmetics, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes or serve as wash baskets for dirty laundry. Purchase a non-slip floor mat or bath rug that is made from recycled plastic fibres and consider using a toothbrush made from recycled plastics too. You can also add a splash of colour to your bathroom with a plastic mirror frame made from recycled PVC

 

Recycled plastics in the outdoor spaces

 

There are so many furniture brands on the market that produce chairs, benches, tables and sun loungers from recycled plastic. Many of these furniture items are available in green and brown hues, but some brands have bold statement pieces that can be a real talking point for guests. Recycled plastic furniture is highly durable and completely water-resistant, which is ideal for outdoor applications.

 

Find yourself some floor mats made from recycled materials so that you can wipe your feet before entering your home. These mats can be placed at all exterior doors. Why not purchase a bird feeder or some plant pots made from recycled plastics as well? There are endless uses for these materials outdoors. 

 

Speak to an assistant at your local home store or garden nursery for help with finding recycled plastic products for your house and garden. These products often have decorative and functional uses, but the best part about buying recycled plastics is that you are saving the environment and supporting an entire industry at the same time.

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Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. ​Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.

 

​Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.

 

For more news, updates and information on the South African plastics industry, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.