Zero plastic to landfil by 2030 is the ambitious target for caring companies in this country. One of the new kids on the plastic recycling block is POLYCO, working on the recycling of Polyolefin plastic.
Addressing POLYCO members and the media during their AGM, Jeremy Mackintosh stated that POLYCO has already succeeded in carving out a name for itself since it was created by South African Polyolefin Plastic Packaging Converters two years ago.
“We look back at the past year with pride at how much we have accomplished in a very short period of time. In particular, we salute each member company that has voluntarily joined POLYCO and stepped up to be the champions of change.
As a society that consumes a great deal, we all need to reduce, re-use and recycle to achieve sending zero plastic waste to landfill by 2030. Each of these members are leading the charge by paying the polyolefin recycling levy and helping to ensure that POLYCO meets its recycling targets under the leadership of our newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Mandy Naudé.
Thanks to them, we are able to provide millions of Rands worth of financial support for polyolefin recycling projects and create employment and income opportunities for thousands of people who help keep post-consumer polyolefin packaging waste out of landfill sites,” Mackintosh said.
Leading the charge – extended producer responsibility
“POLYCO’s goal is simple: to create an organised and committed network of packaging converters united in their commitment to Extended Producer Responsibility by way of the voluntary industry-recycling levy. To use the funds paid by the converter members to grow the tonnages of post-consumer packaging polyolefin plastics being recycled or diverted from landfill. In doing so, we aim to meet the targets set in the Paper and Packaging Industry Waste Management Plan, as submitted by industry to government,” Naudé explained.
Through its Project Support Business model, POLYCO will be focussing its attention on supporting the entire recycling industry value chain by growing volumes of separation, collection, sorting, recycling and end-use demand for polyolefin plastics.
Zero plastic waste to landfill by 2030
“We are committed to achieving the objective of sending “zero plastic packaging waste to landfill by 2030” and will therefore be playing a very active role supporting the implementation of a wide variety of different projects that will help us achieve this goal,” Naudé said, adding that POLYCO will also actively be supporting Reclamation of Energy projects in order to extract green energy from the non-recyclable polyolefin plastics and other waste materials currently going to landfill sites.
“Through waste beneficiation processes such as incineration, pyrolysis and gasification, a diversion of 440 000 tonnes (te’s) of polyolefin plastic packaging could be diverted from landfill by the year 2030,” she explained.
Funding projects with punch
POLYCO will be investing R10 million during the next year to address current areas of constraint in the recycling industry and in line with the association’s project categories:
- Strategic Growth and Development Projects, which aim to increase the economically viable collection and recycling of post-consumer polyolefins. These projects focus on optimising the utilisation of existing collection and recycling infrastructure and help to facilitate its establishment where it does not exist. They are required to deliver substantial growth in te’s separated, collected, sorted and recycled (over 5000 te’s p.a.)
- Supply Chain Efficiency Projects will support new or existing initiatives that contribute to the significant growth of sustainable, on-going collection and sorting of polyolefin plastics (between 1200 te’s and 2400 te’s p.a.). These projects focus on optimising the supply chain within the collection and recycling industry, in order to maximise the growth in tonnes separated, collected, sorted and recycled, by addressing current supply chain constraints.
- Waste Beneficiation Projects focus on supporting technology development projects that are aimed at the extraction of value from the polyolefin plastic packaging and other waste material currently going to landfill. These include incineration and pyrolysis.
- End-use Development/ Research and Development Projects will focus on promoting the use of polyolefin recyclate in a range of consumer product applications with the aim of replacing virgin or other materials. Products made from recycled polyolefins range from garden furniture, gardening equipment, paving blocks, children’s chairs and tables to refuse bags, crates and shampoo/cleaning material bottles.
- Visible Consumer Projects initiatives do not necessarily involve significant volumes, but they promote and contribute to the visible recycling of polyolefins.
“We are expecting the POLYCO 2013 funded collection projects to result in an additional 4 200 te’s of Polyolefin Recyclate (PCR) being available to South African recyclers per annum. The latest available market intelligence has confirmed that the demand for clean, quality recyclate material exceeds the supply of available feedstock, thus reinforcing the need for POLYCO to focus its project funding on additional collection growth projects. We will definitely see a growth in recycling volumes as a result of POLYCO’s funding of worthwhile collection projects and awareness campaigns that take place in communities and in co-operation with other partners,” Naudé said.
Finally, POLYCO also launched its new marketing and communications campaign that will be rolled out to the media and the industry during the next year.
“Our new ‘Thank You’ campaign will be aimed at companies and individuals who have committed themselves to our cause, and who deserve recognition. We have created a series of adverts that show our appreciation to our members, supporters and friends of recycling and we hope that these will motivate those not yet taking part, to also get involved,” Naudé said.
The campaign includes a variety of printed advertisements, and a cartoon animation that explains the recycling industry value chain and key recycling processes and shows how recycling of plastics benefits everybody who is involved.
A strong finish
“We are looking forward to what the new year holds. POLYCO has a vision of creating a united plastics industry that works together to achieve a growing and dynamic packaging sector which is committed to recycling and achieving the target of Zero Plastic to landfill by 2030. But this target can only be achieved through the combined, consistent efforts of all stakeholders – including the retailers, brand owners, producers, converters, recyclers and polymer groups alike,” Naudé concludes.
For more information about POLYCO please visit their website.