Earlier this year, PETCO launched 3 projects in the Eastern Cape, which have received support via the provision of equipment for their operations. The projects, namely Enviroman and Green Guardian in Jeffrey’s Bay and Cannibal Multi Recycling in Port Elizabeth, are all established businesses providing waste management and recycling services but also sustaining the economy through the provision of jobs, skills development and upliftment in the broader communities they touch.
“Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) recyclers, collectors and reclaimers need support, and PETCO needs funds from the PET industry in order to support these role-players in the collection of PET in South Africa” says Cheri Scholtz, CEO of PETCO. At present, PETCO is funded by the PET industry, via the recycling levies paid on the purchase of resin/raw material and via grants-in-aid. The funds support a constant supply and demand for post-consumer PET and are used to sustain and grow PET bottle collection, as well as stimulate the demand for post-consumer PET through the development of end use markets.
The recycling levy collected by PETCO is used in support of two types of programmes namely Category ‘A’ and ‘B’ Projects. Category ‘A’ projects focus on increasing the economically viable collection and recycling of post-consumer PET through the utilisation of existing collection and recycling infrastructure, and help to facilitate their establishment where it does not currently exist. These projects drive the volume of PET recycling through PET recyclers who have an end-use market in their value chain.
Supporting eco initiatives and activities
Through its Category ‘B’ Project drive, PETCO supports initiatives and activities that do not necessarily increase the collection volumes of recycled PET, but contribute to the visible recycling of PET. These include PET Recovery and Recycling stations, Separation at Source schemes, Education and Awareness Raising initiatives, Clean Up Campaigns and Litter Awareness drives, Training and Capacity Building programs and Joint Venture projects with Government, NGO’s and Industry. The 3 Eastern Cape projects fall into this category.
What started as an Environmental Management company back in 2008, ENVIROMAN (Pty) Ltd is a black owned environmental management business providing a one-stop waste management service in the Eastern Cape. They service mainly the Jeffrey’s Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis areas and focus on responsible and accountable environmental management solutions for the public and private sector through waste management, training and consultancy and the provision of waste recycling services.
One of the main objectives of this project is to assist with job creation and upliftment of the local community. They currently employ 16 permanent staff members and empower approximately 120 in the community through their activities. PETCO has supported Enviroman through the provision of a baling machine at their facility.
Education, awareness and skills development
Also located in Jeffrey’s Bay, Green Guardian is a fully integrated waste and recycling service that incorporates education, awareness program and skills development programs, mentoring services and waste management services including establishment of key collection points with suburban and metropolitan areas and the transportation of recyclable waste to the relevant recycling facilities. PETCO has assisted Green Guardian through the provision of 100 wheelie bins and a baling machine for their facility.
Green Guardian currently runs a schools program which sees 1381 children involved in the project, they also work with a number of clinics collecting recyclables in the Jeffrey’s Bay, Humansdorp area and surrounds. They currently employ 12 people formally, and 29 on a casual basis and support in excess of 500 people through their initiatives.
Since its inception in 2003, Cannibal Multi Recycling has aimed to be instrumental in eradicating litter and contributing towards job creation in the broader Port Elizabeth area, with the supply and distribution of receptacles for litter collection, to formal waste collections from businesses in the area, organisation and sponsorship of regional clean-ups and the promotion of consumer awareness and educational campaigns. Cannibal Multi Recycling helps unemployed people to make a living out of recyclables assisting newly formed one-man businesses and entrepreneurs to sell their materials to specialist recyclers. Cannibal Multi Recycling currently employs 17 people, who receive wages on a weekly/monthly basis.
Approximately 1200 people from East London and surrounds, and since September 2011 an estimated 1500 people from Port Elizabeth, earn an income out of supplying material to Cannibal Multi Recycling. As part of its social responsibility, Cannibal Multi Recycling is helping the recycling process by distributing bottle banks and 6 ton skip containers free of charge (sponsored by The Glass Recycling Company). PETCO recently donated a baling machine to Cannibal Multi Recycling to assist them with their material handling capacity.
Huge savings and waste processing efficiency
“Balers can be the driving force behind huge savings and increased efficiency in the area of waste processing” says Belinda Booker, PETCO’s Category B Project Manager. There are tremendous streamlining and efficiency benefits (aside from recycling benefits) that can be derived by baling and compacting waste. It is fairly logical that waste streams, like PET, with the highest air content achieve the highest benefits from compaction.
Reducing loose waste to cubes of material (whether compacted or baled) not only reduces the spacial requirements in hauling the material, thus maximising payloads, as more compacted /baled material can be accommodated in a load as opposed to making frequent ‘tips’ of loose, non-compacted material that takes up a lot of space but less space is taken up on if the material is sent to landfill when not recycled. Baling of material also offers management insight into quantities of waste handled at their facility (as it is easier to quantify knowing the size and weight of bales). As we all know, you can only monitor and improve on what you can measure!
Bale weights and sizes can vary greatly and are dependent on the size of the baler used, handling routines and general logistics such as the size of vehicle used for hauling. Collectors transport and sell baled plastic to recyclers. The approximate price currently being paid by recyclers for baled bottles delivered to their plants is in the region of R3.50 per kg. This price is variable and depends on quality of bales etc. The big recyclers don’t buy loose bottles. The more volume and the better condition the recyclables are in, i.e. if they are clean, unsoiled, sorted by colour and plastic type and in dense bales, the more desirable they are for purchase by a recycler.
“Before balers are donated to a business, PETCO considers the volume of PET being handled at the facility as well as the increased volumes that could be achieved with the introduction of the equipment” says Booker “We typically set a goal of 20 tons per month for the facilities where balers have been donated and watch our collectors’ progress in reaching this target” she added.
Environmental benefits abound
Aside from operational efficiencies, balers also derive benefits related to environmental issues and community image as through streamlining their waste processing, facilities end up with cleaner, neater facilities, with less fire hazards associated with loose material piling up around the facility.
“PETCO is all about Partnerships, Responsibility and Environmental Integrity” says Scholtz. PETCO aims to minimize the environmental impact of post-consumer PET on the South African landscape and supported through the PET industry, strives to contribute to the sustainable growth of the PET plastic recycling industry, supporting existing and encouraging new PET collection and recycling networks. “We hope that this businesses model will not only be sustainable but address the issue of job creation, both direct and indirect in the South African economy” she added.
PETCO has helped to generate almost 26 000 indirect jobs in the recycling and collection sector, reducing poverty across South Africa. In the 3 projects featured, 45 permanent jobs have been created, 150 casual jobs, and 4581 adults and children empowered in the local community.
PETCO currently offers support on its web via the provision of information on collection points in your area and provides tools and resources for domestic users, schools and collectors, including Start a Recycling Business and The Story of PET, which shows what happens to a plastic bottle after it has been consumed and collected.