SOUTH AFRICA – PETCO, South Africa’s national industry body accountable for managing the PET plastic industry’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) recycled 2.1 billion plastic bottles in 2021.

The company, which represents producers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging, has increased its collection of bottles by 6%, i.e. 90,402 tonnes compared to 79,078 tonnes in 2020.

According to Petco, the various initiatives across the nine provinces of the rainbow nation have resulted in 2021 in ‘saving an area equivalent to 560,495 cubic meters and avoiding the associated potential carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 135,604 tonnes.

In Gauteng province, for example, the company has worked with informal waste collectors, buy-back centers and recyclers in the city of Johannesburg, where six million people generate 40,000 tonnes of plastic waste per month, according to the municipality.

“In 2022, we will focus on packaging design to ensure the sustainability of the recycling economy. We are now aiming for a post-consumer solution to promote the circular economy for PET plastic based on regulation,” explains Cheri Scholtz, PETCO’s CEO.

This perspective is shared by Tshidi Ramogase, Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA).

For her part, it will be a matter of facilitating direct support to the waste management value chain in the context of post-Covid 19 economic recovery.

To achieve this, PETCO is counting on the mobilization of many volunteers such as the Zonda Insila Programme (ZIP), a collective of 14 projects that fight against illegal dumping in South Africa.

Thanks to waste collection and recovery sessions in rural areas, the initiative was awarded a prize in the Worth in Your Waste category of the Sustainable Waste Management competition organized by PETCO in South Africa.

PETCO together with other recycling companies is working to scale the number of plastics recycled in the country which currently stands at 45%.

Of all the plastics that were recycled, 70% were recovered from landfills and other post-consumer sources.

This high volume of recyclable waste recovered from landfills suggests that the country now needs to focus on separation at source initiatives.

This means encouraging consumers to separate their recyclable waste from organic waste and non-recyclables at home and at work.

“Recyclables are a valuable resource and should be removed from the solid waste stream before reaching landfill,” concludes Anton Hanekom Plastics SA Executive Director.

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