DOW joins Hands with PlasticsSA to ensure Clean Hands

Social distancing and good hygiene are two practices that are at the centre of the fight against COVID-19. Thousands of people living in Cape Town’s poorer communities and townships, however, do not have access to clean, running water in their homes in order to regularly wash their hands.

In an effort to reduce the risk of cross infection in the Mother City’s most vulnerable communities, Dow Southern Africa partnered with Plastics|SA and the Justice Coalition last week to distribute 20 liter PacXpert plastics pouches –  lightweight, refillable bags, containing soapy water – to COVID-19 action community groups operating in Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Woodstock and Wynberg. The City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste Department also received 80 of these bags for use on their trucks by waste collectors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presents us with new challenges every day. Recognising the health dangers that are posed when many hands touch and use the same tap to access running water, we wanted to offer a practical solution that would help flatten the curve and prevent people from leaving the safe confines of their homes during the period of national lockdown,” says Cicelia van Rooi, Managing Director of Dow Southern Africa.

The PacXpert pouch is an award-winning, flexible and sustainable alternative to using conventional containers. It lightweight, durable, refillable and easy to use thanks to its distinctive cube shape that makes it very stable. The pouch stands equally well upright, on its side or cab be hanged.  It can also be re-used many times over and is fully recyclable.

According to John Kieser, Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Manager, they have been distributing these bags under the banner of Dow’s Project Butterfly – a social initiative that was launched in 2017 with the primary focus of creating jobs and reducing plastic pollution in South Africa through education, clean-ups and innovation-focused initiatives.

“We were able to distribute these bags quickly and effectively to various smaller community groups operating around the city and have dedicated teams in place to replenish the bags with soap and water twice a day,” Kieser said.

“Dow supplies the world with materials needed for many life-critical applications, such as disinfectants, sanitizers, cleansers, personal protection equipment for healthcare professionals, memory foams for hospital beds, and more. I am very proud that we are able to make a small, but very important contribution to fighting the pandemic by putting our assets to work to help protect human health, protect our environment, and help reduce the impact of the pandemic on the world we all share,” Van Rooi concludes.


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  • The Justice Coalition is a democratic, mass-based social movement that campaigns for the advancement of the constitutional rights to life, dignity, equality, freedom and safety for all people, but especially those living in informal settlements across South Africa. (
  • Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure and consumer care. Dow operates 109 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 36,500 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $43 billion in 2019. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit dow.comor follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.
  • Dow is helping to create jobs and reduce plastic pollution in South Africa through their social initiative, Project Butterfly. Introduced in 2017 in the township of Tembisa, Johannesburg, Project Butterfly works with non-profit organizations and local communities to tackle poor waste management through education, clean-ups and innovation-focused initiatives. Currently active in Johannesburg and Durban, Project Butterfly is part of Dow’s global commitment to address plastic pollution and create a more sustainable planet. (



Plastics Industry shows its support for waste pickers during Lockdown

Johannesburg, April 20, 2020.  South Africa has close to 60 000 waste pickers who play a substantial role in the country’s waste management industry. As part of the country’s informal waste sector, they help recover recyclables from household waste streams, as well as waste materials sent to landfill sites. With the country in a national lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, these waste reclaimers suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves unable to put food on the table due to the fact that economic activity was limited to essential food and health products or services only.


“It became clear that South Africa is not only facing a global health pandemic, but increasingly also the possibility of a humanitarian crisis as these waste reclaimers are no longer allowed to work and earn a living,” says Anton Hanekom, Executive Director of Plastics|SA – the umbrella body representing all sectors of the South African plastics industry – including polymer producers and importers, converters, machine suppliers, fabricators and recyclers.


Despite the fact that many role-players in the plastics industry are suffering financial losses during this time as they had to either close down or greatly reduce their operations, Plastics|SA, the plastics PROs, the other packaging PROs and Packaging SA rallied together to donate funds when the request was made by Packaging SA. Working in close partnership with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) and in support of the members of the two associations representing the waste pickers/reclaimers, i.e. the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA), African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO), a total amount of R785, 000.00 was collected within a matter of days. These funds will now be used to purchase electronic food vouchers that will be sent to the collectors who are on the DEFF database via cellphones and can be redeemed at major supermarket retailers.


“We felt deeply affected by the dire and uncertain circumstances these waste reclaimers, who play an important role in the waste management industry, were facing. Because they are not incorporated into the country’s formal waste economy, they tend to lead a hand-to-mouth existence, which means that their income and thus food supply is directly linked to the amount of recyclables they collect on a daily basis, which completely ceased during the period of lockdown ,” says Mandy Naudé of Polyco.


Cheri Scholtz of PETCO highlighted the important role reclaimers play in the recovery of PET bottles and other recyclables in South Africa for reprocessing, and in the process, a lifeline for themselves as reclaimers are paid on a daily basis for the product they deliver to buy-back centres and reprocessors. “In the current situation, recycling is not an essential service and therefore the loss of access to collection has created great hardship for reclaimers,” she stressed.

“Waste pickers make valuable resources available for reintroduction into the economy, while saving landfill airspace. In some instances, these informal waste reclaimers are the only people who recover recyclables in municipalities that do not have a two-bin collection system for separation at source. We have a responsibility to support them in these trying times, they are in desperate need to feed their families,” says Adri Spangenberg, CEO of the Polystyrene Association of SA and the Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA).

The South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) said that the collection of plastics for recycling is a lifeline for many informal waste reclaimers. “At a time when this very livelihood is threatened (because of the lockdown situation) we consider it the least we can do to ensure our collectors and their families have food on the table,” said Johann Conradie, Chairman of SAPRO.

“Aside from supporting sustainable livelihoods, these informal waste reclaimers provide plastic feedstock to our buyback centres and recycling plants. They form the backbone of our recycling economy in South Africa and enable us to achieve the fantastic recycling rates we do!” he added.

“The current COVID-19 crisis has left no sector or industry untouched. Despite facing their own financial and operational hardships, I commend our PROs, every member and individual company who stepped up to the plate without a moment’s hesitation. Irrespective of the amount, every donation made to the waste pickers’ fund or who answered our call to donate to the Solidarity Fund, has helped to make a difference in somebody’s life. Helping one person might not have changed the whole world, but it changed the world for one person.


From the plastics industry’s side, we will do our best to offer them our on-going support during this difficult time in recognition of the important work they do. There is no certainty when the lockdown will end, and we therefore challenge everybody involved in the waste management sector to rally with us and to continue making tax deductible financial contributions to lighten the burden of the waste pickers. Once the lockdown restrictions ease, we will do everything in our power to get the recycling industry operating at full capacity as quickly as possible,” Anton concludes.


Donations can be made into the following bank account:

PAMDEV NPC (t/a Fibre Circle)
Account number: 250791749
Standard Bank | Branch code 005726 | Hillcrest

Reference: Company Name – Food voucher


Companies can request a tax certificate by emailing their details and proof of payment to

[i] According to the 2018 Plastics Recycling Survey published by Plastics|SA

New Intellectual Capital in PlasticsSA’s stable

The Merseta recently participated in the Wits School of Governance offering in Research Contextualisation and enrolled a cohort of Merseta Chamber members into the 3-month programme.

Plastics|SA’s Kirtida Bhana was part of the group and passed with flying colours.  We congratulate Kirtida on her achievement and a further ‘shout out’ on being Top Student in her group.

Kirtida has been an active member of the Plastics Chamber for almost 9 years and has coordinated and managed the Plastics Chamber Research projects on behalf of Plastics|SA.  She is also the current acting Chairperson of the Plastics Chamber.

Well done Kirtida!  We are proud of you and look forward to great innovations in the years to come.

No immediate power tariff impact

No immediate power tariff impact, but first court ruling portends material future hikes


The Eskom tariff increase for 2020/21 tabled before lawmakers this week provides no scope for any further hikes this year beyond those already sanctioned for April 1 by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) in previous price determinations and regulatory clearing account (RCA) rulings.

The tariff will, thus, rise by 8.76% this year, marginally above the 8.1% sanctioned under the fourth multiyear price determination (MYPD4) hikes announced in early 2019, owing to the partial liquidation of RCA adjustments sanctioned by Nersa following two separate MYPD3-related RCA applications by Eskom. The adjustments will increase the Eskom tariff to 116c/kWh from 106c/kWh.

The tariff will not be affected this year by either the recent adverse court ruling against the regulator relating to its mishandling of Eskom’s 2018/19 application, or by any possible upward adjustment that could flow as a result of recently concluded RCA public hearings covering that same financial year.

Even prior to the March 10 ruling, in which Judge Jody Kollapen reviewed and set aside Nersa’s 2018/19 determination, it became clear that neither it, nor the RCA

application could have an immediate impact on the tariff, owing to the requirement that Eskom’s tariff be tabled in Parliament on or before March 15. In the event, the hike was officially tabled on March 12.

Nevertheless, the court ruling, which is one of three live legal challenges by Eskom against Nersa determinations, is more than likely to have material implications for future tariff increases.

In his judgment, Kollapen described Nersa’s treatment of Eskom’s coal and employee cost in its 2018/19 determination as not only “highly problematic” but having departed from the MYPD methodology. Therefore, the decisions taken were “procedurally unfair, irrational and unreasonable”.

Absent any appeal, the utility has the right to make a supplementary application to Nersa within 60 days of it making its RCA determination for 2018/19 to recoup “any additional amounts which it has expended in the 2018/19 tariff year and to which it would have been entitled had the original tariff determination been made lawfully.”

These additional amounts, which are likely to run to billions of rands, should be “added to the RCA balance and liquidated in accordance with additional tariff increases to be determined by Nersa”.

The regulator is expected to make its 2018/19 RCA determination before the end of the month, or possibly early in April.

In parallel, the courts will now review the merits of Eskom’scase against Nersa’s treatment of the R69-billion in government support announced for Eskom in the 2019 Budget.

In February, Kollapen turned down Eskom’s application for urgent relief on the matter, which he said would be evaluated as part of the second phase, or ‘Part B’, of Eskom’s contestation of this aspect of Nersa’s MYPD4 determination, which governs the utility’s tariff increases for the three-year period to March 31, 2022. It is not yet certain whether or not Kollapen will preside over Part B.

Comment Guidelines

Eskom regulations GM Hasha Tlhotlhalemaje tells Engineering News that Part B of the review is likely to be heard towards the end of June, with Eskom scheduled to file its supplementary founding affidavit by mid-April. Simultaneously, Eskom will push ahead with its review of Nersa’s RCA decision for years two, three and four of the MYPD3 period, for which it was granted R32-billion, rather than the R67-billion it had originally sought. It is also considering a review of the RCA for year five of the MYPD3.

Tlhotlhalemaje said that Eskom hoped that the legal processes could be wrapped up in time to influence the 2021/22 tariff, but also acknowledged that any potential appeals could delay the conclusion of the matters. For Eskom, the 2018/19 judgment set an important precedent, as it states that Nersa cannot deviate from its methodology without consultation. “The other takeaway for us is that, if Nersa decides to make a certain decision, it must substantiate that decision, it can’t just say that it is applying its judgement.

This article was published by Creamer Media’s Engineering News on 13 March 2020.

The Power to Protect

When developing transport solutions, designers strive to find the ideal balance between high material performance, competitive pricing, style, comfort, safety, fuel efficiency and minimal environmental impact.

Innovative plastics are a key contributor, because:

  • Plastic components weigh 50 percent less than similar components made from other materials, which means a 25 to 35% improvement in fuel economy.
  • For every kilogram lost, your car will emit 20 kilograms less of carbon dioxide over its operating life.
  • Plastics offer lightweight solutions that fulfill essential safety requirements such as fire safety.

Airplanes are a good example of how plastics and design innovation are connected in a highly modern and material challenged application. Since the 70s, the use of plastics in airplanes has grown from 4 to around 50%.

In the automotive industry, plastics allow for energy absorption, weight reduction and innovative design, while contributing to passenger safety. Features such as shock absorption for bumpers, suppression of explosion risks in fuel tanks, seat belts, airbags and other life-saving accessories such as durable plastic safety seats to protect young passengers make plastics the safest material for automotive applications.

Plastics are also in the vanguard of sustainable innovation, with the average car containing 120 kilograms of plastics (around 15% of its total weight). Modern concept cars are a perfect example of how innovation made possible with plastics also brings environmental benefits.

Courtesy PlasticsEurope.

Plastics in Agriculture

The use of plastics in agriculture helps farmers increase crop production, improve food quality and reduce the ecological footprint of their activity. Not only do plastics allow for vegetables and fruits to be grown throughout the year, no matter the season, these products are also usually of better quality than those grown in an open field.

Innovative and sustainable solutions: Thanks to the use of different plastics in agriculture, water can be saved and crops can even be planted in deserts. Plastic irrigation pipes prevent wastage of water and nutrients, rain water can be retained in reservoirs built with plastics, and the use of pesticides can be reduced by keeping crops in a closed space such as a greenhouse or, for mulching, under a plastic film.

Greenhouses and tunnels

Greenhouses and tunnels are like intensive-care units. Plants are exposed to the sunlight and can grow in ideal conditions, with protection from harmful external conditions.

Plastic reservoirs and irrigation systems

When combined, plastic reservoirs and plastic irrigation systems make an essential contribution to water management. Water can be stored in dams covered with plastic to avoid leaking and distributed via pipes, drop irrigation systems and systems for water circulation.


This application, which was developed to store animals’ grain and straw during the winter, is another proof of the value of plastics. Plastic films used to store silage are resistant and the content can be stored for years.

Other applications

 Include boxes; crates for crop collecting, handling and transport; components for irrigation systems like fittings and spray cones; tapes that help hold the aerial parts of the plants in the greenhouses, or even nets to shade the interior of the greenhouses or reduce the effects of hail.

A wide range of plastics are used in agriculture, including, polyolefin, polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Ethylene-Vinyl Accetate Copolymer (EVA), Poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) and, in less frequently, Polycarbonate (PC) and poly-methyl-methacrylate (PMMA).


Recycling and recovery opportunities: At the end of their life cycle, agricultural plastics such as greenhouse covers can be recycled. Once retrieved from the fields, plastics are usually washed to eliminate sand, herbs and pesticides, before being ground and extruded into pellets. The material can then be used again in the manufacturing of articles such as outdoor furniture.

Courtesy of PlasticsEurope.