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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.

Tax on single-use plastics is not the best solution

During his 2019 Budget Speech, finance minister Tito Mboweni announced an update to existing environmental taxes, including a levy on single-use plastics. While the intention may be good, not all of these taxes are achieving their intended environmental objectives. Taxing single-use plastics is not the best solution to the problem of plastic pollution

A good example of failed objectives is the plastic bag levy that was introduced in 2003. This tax on plastic shopping bags has had little impact on consumer behaviour since it was announced. The Department of Environmental Affairs has acknowledged to the South African Parliament that citizens have continued to use plastic bags despite quadrupling the levy between 2003 and 2018.

This levy has not been ring-fenced for the sole purpose of protecting the environment from plastic pollution. Almost R2-billion has been raised through the plastic bag levy, yet little has been achieved in terms of environmental clean-ups and pollution eradication. A tax on single-use plastics will probably have similar outcomes.

Tax on single-use plastics will not curb pollution

The South African government is currently investigating the opportunity to tax single-use plastic products such as straws, beverage cups, food containers and packaging. However, these taxes may not discourage consumers from purchasing single-use plastics, let alone littering or dumping them after they have used been used.

Plastic SA is committed to tackling plastic pollution and we support any effort to remove plastic waste from the environment. We will work with the government and our industry stakeholders to promote the reuse and recycling of plastic products. It is unacceptable that nearly 8 million tonnes of plastic are currently being washed into the world’s oceans every year.

A tax on single-use plastics will not encourage people to recycle their waste; education and awareness-raising campaigns will. South Africans are becoming more aware of the problem of plastic pollution in the environment, so they are willing to recycle more. The government can help the waste management industry to improve its infrastructure so that more waste can be collected and recycled.

This tax will drive inflation

A tax on single-use plastics is an emotional response to a global concern. However, it will have a significant impact on the economy rather than the environment. This tax is likely to increase inflation as manufacturers and retailers increase their prices to cover the costs of the tax. This will put added pressure on an industry that employs over 60 000 people.

The real solution lies in developing innovative and environmentally-friendly plastic products. Rather than taxing the industry and the consumer, the national government can work with plastics producers to help develop these innovative products. Government funding will go a long way to helping the plastics industry develop new, eco-friendly plastic products.

Plastics SA is determined to find a solution to problematic plastics usage and disposal. We are currently developing an intricate plan to deal with single-use plastics that is aligned with international standards and takes into consideration South Africa’s environmental, socio-political and economic needs.

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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.