Did you know that after ten years in the industry almost half of all our PET beverage bottles are now recycled? That is 1.9 billion bottles per year diverted from the waste stream.
The PET Recycling Company (Pty) Ltd was registered on the 3rd November 2004 and their first set of Directors included the late Rob Rodger, Bob Naidoo, Syd Carter, Roger Thomas, Mandla Tisani, Casper Durandt and Greg Morse; the latter two directors still serving on the current PETCO Board.
This company provided millions of rands worth of financial support to the PET recycling value chain, created an estimated 433 350 income opportunities for collectors, helped to establish 364 plastic recovery stations throughout South Africa, introduced Bottle-2-Bottle Recycling and diverted 630 380 tonnes of PET beverage bottles away from landfill. This is the legacy of a decade of targeted recycling.
Now bottle to bottle will be produced
Later this year, a milestone will be achieved – one of PETCO’s contracted recyclers will be producing CSD grade (bottle2bottle) recycled resin for the industry. This would not have happened without the economic support of PETCO.
Congrats to the PETCO partners, board of directors both past and current, staff, shareholder and associate members – it’s testimony to your vision that PETCO is enjoying such success in a relatively short time and is now almost recycling as much material as is being landfilled. The target this year is 48% and next year 50% of all beverage bottles recycled.
PETCO has helped to grow the economy, developed and expanded from community to community, town to town, and even made their presence felt from country to country and from continent to continent.
Provisional results for post-consumer PET recycling in South Africa in 2013 show that PETCO has achieved its targeted recycling rate, achieving a collection rate of 48% of post- consumer beverage PET – above the 46% target.
This growth in recycling figures, for the 9th consecutive year, would not have been possible without the continued voluntary financial support of PETCO’s shareholder members who enable the organisation to support the entire value chain and entrench PETCO as a successful model for voluntary EPR in South Africa.
Collaboration leads to environmental, efficiency and socio-economic benefits
Likewise, PETCO’s strategic goals would not have been realised without industry, government and community collaboration, maximising the inherent environmental, resource efficiency and socio-economic benefits that PET recycling offers.
The PETCO highlights of 2013 in a nutshell are as follows:
- Growth in tonnage collected reaches 59,667 tonnes, an impressive 18.6% growth on 2012’s collection of 50,274 tonnes.
- Over 1.9 billion PET bottles being recycled annually across South Africa, close to some 5.3 million bottles every day.
- A continued saving of 89 500 tonnes of carbon and 369 000m3 landfill space per year.
- Increase in the demand and uptake of PET recyclate, saving the PET industry (and consumers down the line) with Bottle-2-Foodgrade rPET material being sold below the price of virgin material.
- Market acceptance of PET recyclate with the use of 50% rPET in a juice bottle and the first trials conducted on a 100% application.
- Expansion in recycler capacity with the establishment of a Cape based wash plant at Extrupet and integrated flake to fibre line at Propet and a wash plant established by Sen Li Da in JHB.
- Acceleration of infrastructure development, such as drop off centres and recycling initiatives and an increase in visible recycling projects, training and litter awareness projects.
- Creation of sustainable livelihoods with approximately 41 000 income opportunities being generated in the plastic recycling sector last year.
2014 is set to be challenging
2014 will be a challenging year, with the world teetering on the edge of a global recession, rising energy and petroleum prices and an increased PET resin market size. PETCO’s targeted collection rate of 48% for this year which equates to 64 000 tonnes, is ambitious and will be challenging. Having already collected the low hanging fruit PETCO needs to significantly increase collection volumes and gain access to clean, quality PET to provide feedstock for additional plant and new end-use in the form of Bottle-2-Bottle, now a reality in South Africa.
There is a need for more innovation in the industry’s approach to bottle collections and infrastructure roll out, especially when it comes to the formation of public-private partnerships.
2014 is an election year and PETCO recognizes that the prospect of decision-making and implementation may be hamstrung. The delays in the approval of the Industry Waste Management Plan for Paper and Packaging are a concern.
The flip side of these challenges is that opportunities abound. Municipalities, collectors, retailers, industry and consumers forming partnerships, further end-market development and growing the spectrum of products made from rPET, development of novel collection systems, design for recycling and manufacturing innovation. In growing the Green Economy, the waste sector offers opportunities for community-based, labour-intensive job-creation initiatives and the absorption of relatively low-skilled workers.
We are also cautiously optimistic about Plastics SA’s vision of “zero plastics to landfill by 2030”.
As members of the Plastics SA Sustainability Committee, PETCO commits to play an active leadership role in making this goal a reality.