With spring in the air, it’s time to spring into action, spring cleaning not only your homes but our environment as well!
Temperature gauges are still inconsistent, with mercury rising to 30 degrees in some places, snow in others, but most South Africans are quizzically admiring the spring buds shyly making their appearances. With spring in the air, PETCO encourages all out there to spring into action, spring cleaning not only your homes our environment as well!
With a focus on the importance of individual efforts, Clean-up South Africa Week runs from 10 – 15 September this year. The aim of the week is to raise awareness and harness the power of the collective, encouraging individuals to help rid our countryside of litter and recycle their waste via a number of planned activities, events and drives.
Another environmental day that has been added to the calendar this year is Recycling Day. Plastics|SA, with the support of PETCO and other polymer groups, has initiated an annual Recycling Day which falls on 14 September –to increase awareness by educating the community about the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling.
Less money and energy wasted
“PETCO is encouraging its members, network and the community to support these initiatives” says Cheri Scholtz, CEO of PETCO.” Not only do they raise the profile of the importance of recycling, thus diverting waste from landfill, but they shine a light on the market for recycled materials” she added. By recycling materials we decrease the necessity to import raw materials, plus less energy is used when recycled materials are included in the manufacturing process.
All good things come in threes, with International Coastal Clean-Up Day completing the trio of environmental initiatives, falling on the 15th of September this year. This will be the 27th Annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day and is the culmination of Clean-Up South Africa Week, highlighting awareness around the problem of marine and coastal litter.
Last year, this initiative saw 14 159 people, scouring 488km of coast and inland waterways, collecting debris which filled 14 269 bags weighing 44 738kg. This year organisers expect even more volunteers to join and pick up anything that wasn’t left there by nature, leaving only footprints. PETCO will be joining Plastics|SA and Bird life Africa doing a beach clean-up on Robben Island, as well as supporting Plastics|SA and Woolworths with the team joining school groups on a clean up of Woodbridge Island in Cape Town. PETCO will also be in action in Gauteng, as being land locked is no excuse not to spring into action.
Many clean-up drives planned
In addition to beach clean ups and dives, numerous clean-up drives are being planned for inland waterways, streams, and dams all over South Africa where people can clear away litter throughout the month of September.
PETCO has the specific objective of promoting and improving the waste management and recycling of post consumer Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) products and are currently running a campaign that PET is not trash, advocating the use, reuse and recycling of PET underpinned by a strong message that it is too valuable as a resource to be wasted.
1 ton plastic recycled saves 1.5 tons of CO2
“Every bottle we collect counts…” says Scholtz, “by recycling 1 ton of plastic bottles, we save 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions and divert 1 ton of material from landfill. This coupled with the blossoming emergence of end use markets for recycled PET is a sound case for ensuring these bottles do not end up in landfill.”
Scholtz advises that last year alone, 42 651 tons of PET was collected and recycled. Currently 1.4 billion PET bottles are being recycled annually across South Africa, close to 4 million bottles recycled every day. Recycling presents real opportunities for income generation and alleviation of poverty through job creation. PETCO has helped to generate almost 26 000 indirect jobs, reducing poverty across South Africa. To see what happens to your PET bottle when it is recycled, check out The Story of PET.
Turning the tide on waste and litter, by actively cleaning up, is one of the easiest ways to help protect our precious environment , in addition to raising awareness and encouraging long lasting behaviour change. This too can install a sense of civic pride in our communities- so roll up your sleeves and volunteer your time this September to keep South Africa healthier, cleaner and greener….and please remember to update us on your activities via Facebook!