Plastics SA and the entire industry is committed to cleaning the environment and removing litter from our rivers, beaches, oceans and public spaces. The annual Clean-up and Recycle SA Week takes place from 16 to 21 September 2019, and Plastics SA will be getting involved for the 23rd year running.
“Clean-up and Recycle SA Week began as a project of the plastics industry and Ezemvelo/KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, in 1996,” says Plastics SA sustainability director Douw Steyn. “Since then, it has grown to include the participation of all the packaging streams (i.e. paper, glass, metal and tetra packaging) as well as the support of major plastic raw material suppliers, converters, brand owners and retailers, PROs (Product Responsibility Organisations), recycling bodies, and conservationists and government,” he explains.
“During this week, we all unite our actions around the common goal of removing as much litter as we possibly can from our environment. We also aim to teach South Africans how to dispose of their waste in a responsible way, by highlighting the importance of recycling materials that can be used to create new products, generate employment and reduce our impact on the environment,” says Steyn.
Calls to host your own clean-up event
Anyone can host their own clean-up initiative during the week-long campaign. Plastics SA encourages businesses, schools, communities and government departments to organise litter clean-ups in their towns, suburbs and surrounding areas. Where possible, Plastics SA will provide support for these initiatives by donating garbage disposal bags and offering advice on proper recycling practices.
Any clean-up initiative that is organised will be hosted on the Clean-up and Recycle SA website. This will allow residents to find an initiative in their area and get involved. “This week will culminate in National Recycling Day (Friday, 20 September 2019) and South Africa’s participation in the International Coastal Clean-Up and the ‘Let’s Do It!’ World Clean-Up (Saturday, 21 September),” Steyn reveals.
In 2018, the global Clean-up and Recycle Week attracted support from 17 million volunteers living in 158 countries, including South Africa. Tens of thousands of clean-up events took place around the world during the week, despite six tropical cyclones, wars and civil unrest. This was the largest organised clean-up to ever take place in a time span of 36 hours.
South Africans can get involved to make a lasting impact on the environment
Plastics SA is proud of South Africa’s involvement in last year’s event. “Being concerned about plastics that end up in the environment and trying to do something about it, is nothing new to the plastics industry. In fact, we have been working consistently to bring about change for more than 20 years by educating society and working with the designers, producers, consumers and recyclers of plastic goods and packaging,” says Steyn.
“We have also been lobbying provincial, national and local government about the need for improved waste management. Whilst it is great to see the growing public support and awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution, we realise that the challenge is far from over,” he explains.
“To truly reach our objectives of sending zero-waste-to-landfill, dramatically reducing our environmental footprint and creating a circular economy, we need everybody’s participation. The issue of waste in the environment is a global problem, and the solution will, therefore, require a consistent, global effort,” Steyn concludes.
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.