Presented by the World Packaging Organisation (WPO), the WorldStar Awards are the pre-eminent international awards in the packaging sector. These Awards aim to showcase the continual advancement of the global packaging industry, and create a standard for international packaging excellence.
The first recycler of food grade PET (polyethylene terephthalate) in South Africa, Extrupet, has been nominated as finalist in the WorldStar Sustainability Awards. This international recognition represents an important milestone for the South African PET recycling industry at large, acknowledging the significant progress that has been made by the sector in the recycling of post-consumer PET in South Africa.
In May 2015, the first Bottle-2-Bottle recycling plant in Africa, with an investment of R75 million and the capability to produce resin that is suitable for the carbonated soft drink sector, was officially opened in Wadeville, Johannesburg. Extrupet’s new PhoenixPET plant is equipped with Starlinger technology, and supplies an additional 14 000 tonnes of PET resin per year to the PET packaging industry. It will eventually divert an additional 22 000 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles from landfills each year.
To date, PhoenixPET has been recognised as the only recycled PET (or rPET) product produced in South Africa which meets the stringent EU safety and compliance requirements set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in order to supply to all major retailers, brand owners and manufacturers.
The use of rPET in products has marked sustainability benefits.
From an environmental perspective, it saves natural resources and minimises waste to landfill (as fewer used bottles are sent to landfill due to recovery). From a societal perspective, recycling creates income opportunities (through PET collection and recovery) and enhances skills transfer, entrepreneurial development and the growth of SMMEs.
Says Cheri Scholtz, CEO of PETCO (pictured below), “This world-class achievement puts South Africa on the map. It represents the most sustainable use of the raw material by ‘closing the loop’, where the recycled resin can be used again and again in new bottles. Creating higher demand for products made from recycled plastics is essential; the greater the demand, the more this will pull through the supply chain and positively stimulate activity.”
“In this regard, Extrupet’s decade old partnership with PETCO and their members has been instrumental,” says Chandru Wadhwani (pictured above), Joint Managing Director of Extrupet. “Without our combined efforts in this space, none of the accolades received by PhoenixPET would have materialised. We remain committed to our combined goals of sustainably increasing the recovery and recycling rates of post-consumer PET in South Africa and look forward to achieving much more together.”
Extrupet has already won a number of local and international awards over the past several months for its PhoenixPET food-grade recycled PET resin. These include a WorldStar Award in the ‘Other’ category (October 2015) and the Judge’s Gold Sustainability Award at the Gold Pack Awards (November 2015), the latter of which represents a first for any polymer resin in South Africa.
Adds Wadhwani, “For PhoenixPET to be recognised along multi-national companies like Nestle for the Sustainability Award is truly humbling,” adds Wadhwani. “It vindicates the dedication and belief of the team at Extrupet that PhoenixPET would meet the stringent food-grade standards required by major global brand owners, while simultaneously meeting the sustainability credentials it was tasked to demonstrate.”
The winner of the 2016 WorldStar Sustainability Awards will be announced at the WorldStar Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner, to be held on 26 May 2016 to coincide with an International Packaging Exhibition in Budapest, Hungary.
Says Scholtz, “The international recognition received by Extrupet should encourage brand owners and converters to include increasing levels of recycled resin in their PET packaging products. I believe that these awards can inspire a generation of packaging designers to profoundly rethink plastic packaging.”