With the increasing severity of the drought in the Western Cape, the storage and consumption of bottled water is expected to increase, and PET plastic bottles are a safe and convenient way to do this.
Here are PETCO’s tips for the reuse and recycling of your PET water bottles during the drought:
- If collecting from a water point, it will be helpful to re-use your PET bottles, especially the 5 litre bottles.
- When re-using PET bottles for water storage, please ensure that they are clean. PET bottles are safe for use and reuse so long as they are washed properly with detergent and a little water to remove bacteria, as you would any other container.
- When dropping PET bottles off for recycling, there is no need to wash them.
- Please do not throw the bottles away when you are finally finished using them – bottles should never be sent to landfill sites or end up as litter in the environment. PET bottles are fully recyclable when basic design principles are followed. Take your bottles to one of the City of Cape Town drop-off facilities where they will be sent to PETCO Member Companies for recycling.
- Please leave the caps on, as these are also recyclable, and we don’t want them ending up as litter in our beautiful city.
Cheri Scholtz, CEO of PETCO, the PET Plastic Recycling Company, says that PET bottles are 100% recyclable and can be used over and over again. “PET bottles are not “single-use” bottles and are not trash. When they are recycled, they are made into new bottles for water or beverages or recycled into many new and useful products such as polyester fibre for duvets and pillows, jeans and t-shirts, and re-usable shopping bags.”
PET bottles are safe to use. “There has been a lot of confusion about what is in our plastic containers since concerns were raised about the safety of polycarbonate products containing Bisphenol-A (bPA). There is no connection between PET plastic and Bis-phenol A. Bis-phenol A is not used in the production of PET material, nor is it used as a chemical building block for any of the materials used in the manufacture of PET,” says Cheri.
Scholtz also appealed to manufacturers generously assisting with bringing bottles of water to Cape Town to help with drought to please use PETCO Guidelines for Recycling to ensure that the PET bottles they are bringing do not negatively impact the recycling stream – no metal caps, no dark colours of PET (clear is the first choice and light blue second choice) and no printing directly onto bottles.
No need to import polyester staple fibre anymore
There are two state-of-the art PET bottle-2-bottle recycling plants in South Africa. Here bottles are recycled so that they can be made into new bottles. As they are blended with virgin material in various proportions, they can be recycled again and again.
There also have three fibre producing plants where PET bottles are recycled into polyester staple fibre. This fibre fills our pillows and duvets, goes into our reusable shopping bags, goes into jeans. We don’t need to import polyester staple fibre into SA anymore – we are self-sufficient.
An industry leader manufactures industrial geotextiles in South Africa from recycled PET bottles. This geotextile is used in lining of landfill sites, tunnel construction, and power station construction.
- Frequently Asked Questions: PET
- Frequently Asked Questions: Packaging
- See a list of water brands approved by the South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA), and therefore getting their water from sustainable groundwater sources.
- PETCO’s Guide to Designing Bottles with Recycling in mind