South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) is inviting entries to this year’s Recycled Plastic Product of the Year Awards. SAPRO is proud to announce the sixth prestigious competition, with the aim of acknowledging the wide variety of products that are locally manufactured using recycled materials.
The Recycled Plastic Product of the Year Awards were held for the first time in 2010 and has been dubbed “The Oscars of the plastics recycling industry”. Each year the competition grows both in the number of entries and in the variety of different products being submitted.
This biennial competition showcases the tremendous amount of ingenuity and creativity our local product designers have, and aims to encourage brand owners to seriously consider recycled plastics as a material of choice. Whether they are designing packaging or pallets, shoes or shopping bags, this competition has demonstrated that there is no limitation to where and how recycled plastics can be used.
Previous overall winners include the City of Cape Town and MPACT Plastic Containers with their Fifty/50 Wheelie Bin (2015), Unilever with their Sunlight Dishwashing bottle (2013), Lasher Tools with their Eco-Wheelbarrow (2012), Woolworths and Polypet with their 1.5 litre juice bottle (2011) and Tufflex Materials with their innovative railway sleeper made from mixed materials (2010).
Winners of this year’s competition will be announced at a gala dinner in Gauteng during Clean-Up and Recycle SA Week (11-17 September 2017).
Product categories and judging criteria
In order to encourage even greater participation and entries by local converters and innovators, this year’s competition will have the following five distinct product categories:
- Products made from 100% post-consumer recyclate
- Products containing a percentage post-consumer recyclate
- Products made from recycled mixed materials
- Novel and Artistic products – i.e. articles made from discarded plastics products
- And for the first time, there is also a “New Ideas” category – anything that can be made from recycled materials. It does not have to be a product as yet, just the idea clearly explained on a poster, mock-ups or a good explanation.
A gold, silver and bronze winner will be announced in each of these product categories, which will also acknowledge the recycler of the material, the manufacturer of the product as well as the brand owner in front of the auspicious audience during the gala awards ceremony. The overall winning entry will walk away with the SAPRO trophy for The Best Recycled Product for 2017.
Entries will be judged on a number of criteria by a panel of judges who are experts in plastics, packaging, recycling, product design and marketing. The criteria they will use when adjudicating each entry includes: the life expectancy of the product, the sustainability (i.e. long-term demand and market acceptance of product), the measures taken to ensure product consistency and customer satisfaction despite recycled material content, tonnage (or potential tonnages) of plastics that were converted and therefore diverted from landfill, technical achievements in manufacturing to overcome recycled material challenges, replacement of alternative materials and the so-called “Wow-factor” of the product.
Although various weighting could be used to judge products objectively, we are looking for products that will grow the demand for recyclate, help to focus on the quality of products and to stimulate innovation – all aspects needed for a vibrant plastics recycling industry.
Rules, regulations and entry forms
Any company in the SADC region may enter the competition, provided that the recycled material originated in South Africa. Products that were entered in previous years’ competitions, but failed to win, are also eligible to enter again. The closing date for entries is Thursday, 10 August 2017.
We look forward to receiving a record amount of entries for this year’s competition. The very fact that recycling industries both locally and internationally are under severe pressure and are fighting to survive, serves to highlight the importance of showcase events such as these. We need to make sure that decision makers are made aware of the versatility of recycled plastics and the important role this industry plays in job creation, diverting waste from landfill and growing the economy.
Entry forms and competition rules can be obtained online from SAPRO’s website.