SOUTH AFRICA – Reusable packaging collector Mpact Recycling has opened its US$8.23 million (R150m) recycling operation in Bridge City, KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal.

The investment will enable the group to service the Northern Coast corridor while uplifting its surrounding communities.

The project was brought about through close collaboration between the Mpact Group, Mpact Recycling and the Mpact Paper businesses over several years.

Construction began in June 2021 and was completed in April 2022. The new operation allows for the increased collection, sorting and baling of major waste streams such as paper, plastic, cardboard and the central collection of glass.

“This investment represents our commitment to growing recycling and the recycling economy within KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa,” says John Hunt, MD at Mpact Recycling.

The Mpact Group believes this new operation will open opportunities for recycling SMMEs to form and develop in the area and ultimately continue to contribute to the economy well into the future.

“We chose this area because it is convenient for local businesses and there is the ease of access for our existing suppliers, employees and contractors, and the community,” added Hunt.

The new operation entails improved operational efficiency, increased volume throughput and a reduction in the reliance on grid-based energy supply.

An initial solar installation of 130kW provides the facility with enough power to enable “grid-free” daytime operations.

Over time, Mpact plans to consider expanding the solar installation and tying it into the local supply grid for either resale or wheeling to its other KwaZulu-Natal operations.

The main warehouse, including a separate administration and operations center, allowed Mpact Recycling to relocate its large sorting plant as well as two baling machines all under the roof from its previous location.

In addition, the improved design and process flow will reduce offloading and loading times for suppliers and collection vehicles, thereby improving capacity for collections with the existing fleet.

The process improvement also reduces risk to workers and suppliers as the congestion around the offloading area can be better managed.

“This facility has been purpose-built,” says Kevin Matthews, National Technical Manager of Mpact Recycling.

“We’ve considered all the inefficiencies and where we can make improvements in the process flow, and that is going to be a game changer for us going forward.”

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