Relax. Unwind. Chill out. But don’t forget the bottles.
Taking time out in our glorious South African summer is thirsty work. And the most convenient way to quench that thirst is with the water or soft drinks bottled and chilled in store fridges everywhere.
But after cracking open the top and drinking the contents, please remember that the bottle your water or soft drink came in is truly valuable and not fit for the trash.
Bottled water and soft drinks are most often delivered in plastic bottles made from PET, short for Polyethylene Terephthalate (even getting your tongue around that is thirsty work).
Don’t throw it away, recycle it
If you throw the bottle away it simply gets carted to a landfill where it piles up and is rendered useless forever.
Please recycle PET bottles. Today we’re able to put them to incredibly good use in all sorts of other applications. Recycled PET is used to make fibre filling for jackets, duvets and pillows; non-woven automotive carpets; roof insulation; geotextiles; and even turned back into both food and non-food packaging.
Since the PETCO levy was introduced in April 2005 some 177,255 tons of post-consumer PET has been recycled. This equates to saving 265,882 tons of CO² and 17.5 million cubes of landfill space.
Motivating the motivators
PETCO is working with the packaging industry and together with this sector has submitted a draft Paper and Packaging Industry Waste Management Plan to motivate government. Ultimately this plan will be used to improve the collection of recyclables from the municipal solid waste stream prior to landfill. The aim is for the public and private sector to put a cost-effective separation at source strategy in place. To implement kerbside collection more widely and to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover plastics much more efficiently than we do at the moment and to avoid altogether plastics from going to landfill. Low recycling rates negatively affect the ability to supply markets and will not encourage new projects.
PETCO is also an active member of The Global Alliance for Recycling and Sustainable Development (GARSD) which is a global network of business associations to promote sustainable household waste management in emerging and developing countries, working as a source of learning and exchange for recovery organisations. The current member countries are: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay and Thailand. PETCO hosted a well attended workshop on the 7th December 2011 to see how an effective low cost model can be put together. “Challenge to turn informal to formal model” says Scholtz.
PET recycling (from the collectors to the sorters, converters and manufacturers) creates thousands of income opportunities annually.
And that’s a great way to ensure we live more sustainably and go into 2012 already with prospects of success.