Plastics SA Training Division turning a challenge into an opportunity.
After all training courses were halted with immediate effect when the COVID-19 lockdown regulations were announced at the end of March, PlasticsSA’s Training Division turned the challenge into an opportunity!
Although we have never offered online training before, the Regional Managers and Trainers together with the Training Administrators at Plastics|SA rose to the challenge of transforming all of the theoretical and classroom practical learning content that they usually offer for in-classroom learning, into an interactive, live online platform.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the industry’s positive response to our online training offerings and excited that vital training continues in their organisations.
Companies who have already enrolled learners for the online learning experience include Verigreen, Tropic Plastics, Fibre-Wound, Smiths Manufacturing, First National Battery, Mpact Plastics, Master Plastics, Chespak, Plaslantic, Gold Sun Industries, Lumotech Uitenhage and PlastiColors.
Many of our learners do not have access to their own computers, data or a stable Wi-Fi connection. However, thanks to careful planning and close working partnerships with their employers, our efforts have paid off and it’s happening! Because most learners are enrolled by their employers, the onus rests on the company to provide a conducive learning environment and a reliable computer and internet connection to ensure the success of the learning programme.
We are proud of our team of trainers and the students who embraced this new way of life. They have gone out of their way to be creative and ensure that the practical components of training are satisfied through the use of material samples and examples of quality defects in the training sessions. A specially designed virtual classroom has been created for the online training, using the same format as the classroom-based training. The learning content continues to be very interactive, with many classroom activities and exercises interspersed throughout the course.
Engaged and focused learners, throughout the learning process, is essential and all of the necessary steps are in place to make the online experience as rewarding, interactive and seamless as possible. The practical aspects of the training that require hands-on experience, are scheduled for when the companies are able to arrange safe transportation of the learners to one of Plastics|SA’s three training facilities located in Midrand (Gauteng), Maitland (Western Cape) and Pinetown (KwaZulu-Natal).
We have put all of the necessary safety measures and protocols in place to accommodate the learners for practicals, but it is up to the employer companies to determine when their employees can complete their training offsite.
Learning programmes already on offer online include:
- Skills Programmes and Learnerships viz. Principles of Quality
- Apply study and learning techniques
- Read and Interpret Engineering Drawings
- Understand and Deal with HIV Aids
- Apply SHEQ Processes and Procedures
- Maintain and Monitor SHEQ Systems & Procedures
- Process Machine Construction
- Understand Production Process and Quality Principles in Plastics Manufacturing
- Basic Raw Materials and Generic Management.
For more information please contact the branch in your region.
Western Cape and Port Elizabeth: Kim.Arendse@plasticssa.co.za
KwaZulu Natal and East London: Desiree.Reddy@plasticssa.co.za
Packaging SA, Plastics SA, the various PRO’s and other interested parties have been engaging with Government over the past 9 months regarding the proposed Section 18 notice.
Section 18 refers to the Extended Producer Responsibility aspect of the National Environmental Management Waste Act (NEMWA) and essentially replaces Section 28 (Industry Waste Management Plans) from 2017. Whilst both Section 18 and Section 28 essentially cover Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and material recovery, we welcomed the adoption of a Section 18 process as it allows industry to raise, manage and disburse EPR fees themselves.
WHERE ARE WE NOW
On 26 June 2020 the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), Ms. Barbara Creecy, published an amendment to the National Environmental Waste Act in the form of draft Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations. Members of the public and industry were given 30 days to comment and revert back to her with objections or suggested changes.
Once promulgated, the EPR Plan will substantially change the regulatory environment in South Africa, not only for producers and users of packaging, but for our various Producer Responsibility Organisations, i.e. PETCO, Polyco, the Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA) and the Polystyrene Association of SA.
It will be the responsibility of the various Producer Responsibility Organisations (PRO’s) to drive sector based waste minimisation programmes, manage financial arrangements for funds to promote the reduction, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste; drive awareness programmes and innovate new measures to reduce the potential impact of products on health and the environment.
EXPECTED TIME FRAME FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Once approved and promulgated, producers and PRO’s will have 6 months to become compliant. However, the Minister has made it clear that she wants to implement the new regulations as soon as possible, and there is talk that it could be in place as soon as the fourth quarter of 2020. It is likely that the targets for the 1st year and reporting requirements will commence at the beginning of 2021. As currently drafted, the requirements essentially come into effect on the date of publication of the final notice, which could be as early as September 2020.
FOCUS AREAS FOR THE SA PLASTICS INDUSTRY
Of particular concern to us is ensuring that the final Section 18 notice is practical, reasonable and applicable to the South African context.
UNLOCKING THE HIDDEN VALUE OF WASTE
It is crucial that targets that are being set for the collection and recycling of the various forms of plastic, are based on the South African scenario, include local data, use our own best practice models and build on the successes that our existing PRO’s have already achieved.
A staggering 70% of the plastics that recycled in South Africa, are still obtained from landfill and other post-consumer sources.
34 % of South Africans do not have access to any waste management services. Waste management infrastructure needs to be put in place by municipalities throughout SA where concerned citizens can participate and which can deal with recyclable as well as non-recyclable waste.
Recyclables are a valuable resource and should be removed from the solid waste stream before reaching landfill where they become contaminated and extraction costly. Separation-at-source, whereby recyclable materials are separated from non-recyclables, is therefore a key success factor for all recycling.
The plastics industry is fully committed to cooperate with Government as we work to clarify the issues of concern.
For those producers who have not yet signed up to a PRO, you are advised and encouraged to join without delay. Not only will this ensure that your company is compliant and meet the obligations under the new legislation, but your input and contributions during this development stage of the game are much needed and could help to shape our industry focus and activities for many years to come.
For more information, kindly email Anton.Hanekom@plasticssa.co.za
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.
- 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. (sjc.org.za)
- 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. (dow.com)