The collection of recycled polystyrene is now automated | Infrastructure news

Collection of breadtags and yoghurt tubs made from high impact polystyrene is now being coordinated with the click of a button, with collection of expanded polystyrene soon to follow.

The Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa is going high tech with the collection of high impact polystyrene. A new application (app) for smartphones and computers, called PolyNet, has been developed specifically for the council to automate the entire process between the project coordinators, collectors and recyclers.

“The collection of the various types of polystyrene for our many different recycling projects has grown to a point where we needed to look at technology to help us manage the process effectively,” says Adri Spangenberg, director of the Polystyrene Council.

“Instead of spending almost days trying to manually put collectors and recyclers in contact with each other and arranging collections, the entire process is now automated and simplified – allowing us to focus on growing the recycling of polystyrene even more in South Africa,” she explains. With a click of the mouse, the 600 coordinators of the volunteers who are collecting breadtags for the Bread Tags for Wheelchairs project can register on the council’s website ( when they have enough breadtags (approximately 680 kg), to be collected anywhere in the country.

“The software flags a local collector of the material, who is instructed to do the collection and even works out the logistics with the recyclers such as Zibo Containers (previously Groplast), which recycles breadtags into seedling trains, and MFI Mouldings, which recycles them into picture frames,”Spangenberg continues. The money paid for the breadtags is transferred into a special Bread Tags for Wheelchairs account, held by CE Mobility, which in turn assists with selecting the correct wheelchairs for the identified recipients, along with the QuadPara Association of South Africa.

“We have recently installed the software at DoxaDeo School in the Hartbeespoort Dam area as a pilot phase to coordinate the collection of breadtags and will soon be rolling out the software to the rest of the country during the next six months,”Spangenberg states. The same technology will also be employed by the Polystyrene Council to coordinate the collection of yoghurt tubs from more than 20 Eco-Schools around the country, which gets recycled into Tutudesks, as well as the contaminated post-consumer polystyrene for use in construction projects.

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