Milk bottles are good polyolefin plastics to recycle.

Milk bottles are good polyolefin plastics to recycle.

A R5,5 million investment has been awarded to five local plastics collectors to help expand the existing separation, collection, sorting and/or mechanical recycling facilities of these companies.

The investment was awarded by the Polyolefin Recycling Company (Polyco). The company looked for collectors and recyclers who needed funding to invest in new equipment in order to expand their operations and grow their businesses.

The companies that will benefit from the investment are:

  • Tufflex

Located in Germiston, Trufflex is a well-known recycler in the recycling industry. The company specialises in recycling domestic and industrial polymers into usable products such as rail sleepers, furniture, armco barrier uprights, decking for walkways and pallets.

Under the guidance of new owner Peter Waldburger, Tufflex has been given a new lease on life with a lot of time, money and effort spent on rejuvenating its facilities.

Despite its successes, Waldburger was concerned about the company’s sole reliance on their supply of clean, post-industrial feed stock to keep their operations going.

“Thanks to Polyco’s interest-free loan, we are now able to invest in a much-needed wash plant and shredding capacity that would enable us to also accept post-consumer material,” Waldburger said. “Coming from households or off landfill sites, these plastics are often very heavily soiled and need to be washed before processing. We are hugely excited about the possibilities this upgrade to our facilities will mean for our business in the years to come.”

  • Lanseria Plastics

Based in Kya Sands, Gauteng, Lanseria Plastics specialises in recycling HD and LD plastics. Owner Hannes Uys and his team identified new markets for their growing business, but needed to ensure a consistent quality of recyclate. As a result, the company applied for an interest-free loan to be spent on investing in new test equipment to ensure a quality product.

“Being able to produce recycled polymer of consistent quality will allow us access into new end-use markets,” Uys said.

  • B-West Cleaning and Recycling Project

This company is located on the outskirts of Soweto. As with many smaller collectors, B-West had to find a way of getting their materials to recyclers. Investing in a new baler and scale will allow them to weigh the collected material and compact it into bales for economical delivery.

Johannes Brocherds of B-West said the company was grateful for the investment, and as a result, would be an even more professional collector and produce more accurate reports on growth volumes.

  • BB Plastic Solutions

This medium-sized recycler has had its operations for 11 years and is based in Nigel, Gauteng. As a supplier of pelletised material to the plastics recycling industry, owner Bertus Becker needed funding support in order to grow their operation so that it could process larger volumes of polyolefin plastics.

Becker said that the company “will now be able to convert our extra HD polymer that will be a huge benefit to our business”.

  • NC Cluster Recycling

This company is considered as a fairly new comer in the recycling industry. Based in the

Northern Cape, the company will use the investment to improve their collections of polyolefin recyclables in many of the smaller towns in this area. Until recently, these towns had very little or non-existent service levels.

“Our biggest challenge thus far has been ensuring that the waste from the almost 40 towns we are currently servicing gets transported quickly and effectively to the recyclers in the bigger towns,” said owner, Riaan Steyn. “To do this, we desperately needed to invest in trailers that could be hooked onto our trucks in order to almost double the load for each trip,” he explained. The company will also purchase a granulator which it needs to further reduce logistics costs.

Application and selection of recipients

Polyco said that applications were received from around the country, many of which wanted funding to implement new separation-at-source programmes, purchase minor equipment to overcome current supply chain constraints, or funding to support community-based projects to grow separated collection volumes.

“After a rigorous evaluation process, Polyco’s board of directors approved the applications from the following five companies who were best able to meet their criteria for funding support,” the company said.

The investment into the five companies is either a once-off financial grant, or an interest-free loan which has to be paid back over 3 years, Polyco said, and the repaid funds will be used to fund other recycling activities.