The City of Cape Town and Mpact Plastic Containers were awarded the SAPRO Trophy for the Recycled Product of the Year for theirFifty/ 50 Wheelie Bin that was entered in the Recycled Content Category.The gala awards ceremony took place at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch earlier on recently, as one of the highlights of Clean-Up and Recycle Week SA activities (14-19 September) and National Recycling Day that was celebrated around South Africa. Encouraging plastic recycling Thirty-four Products in four different categories made it to the finals of this year’s competition that was hosted by the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) and Plastics|SA – the umbrella body of the local plastics industry. The aim of the competition is to acknowledge products that are made from recycled materials and to encourage brand owners and industrial designers to consider recycled plastics as a material of choice. “We surely had high hopes when we launched our first Recycled Plastic Product of the Year Awards in 2010. Ambitious and optimistic as we were at the time, we had no idea just how impactful and prestigious this SAPRO initiative would become in later years. Each year that we host this competition, it is proven over and again that talent runs broad and deep in our country and that the plastics recycling industry has an important role to play in South Africa,” said SAPRO chairman, Jaco Breytenbach. World-class recycling This sentiment was echoed by the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Thompson, who officiated the opening of the awards by underlining the importance of partnerships and interaction with stakeholders in the industry. “In 2014, South Africa managed to recycle 315 600 tons of all plastics products manufactured, back into raw material. This is an impressive feat in anybody’s language, placing South Africa amongst the top mechanical recycling countries in the world,” Deputy Minister Thompson said.
Winning binsProof of the successes that can be achieved when public and private partnerships take hands to find solutions, could clearly be seen in the Fifty/ 50 Wheelie Bin that walked away with the overall honours of the night. The City of Cape Town introduced 240 litre wheelie bins for refuse collection in 1991. Traditionally, these bins were made from 100 % virgin PE-HD, but the City of Cape Town recently drew up a specification for the wheelie bins to be manufactured from 50 % recycled PE-HD. The recycled feedstock for the Fifty/50 wheelie bin is derived from the City of Cape Town’s end-of-life wheelie bins which are manufactured by Mpact Plastic Containers. The new bins carry a 10-year guaranteed and are subject to all the testing and performance requirements as stipulated in SANS 1494:2007. The City accumulates broken and damaged refuse bins which are collected, cleaned and processed – all under the control of the City and the manufacturer in order to ensure an auditable trail. Currently, there are approximately 800 000 bins serviced weekly throughout the Mother City. “The Fifty/50 wheelie bin is ground breaking in that the City of Cape Town ignored the traditional concerns with regards to recycled products and compiled a specification for their product in order to ensure reliable, robust and quality performance. They created the first closed loop system of its kind set up between a public authority and a private manufacturer to ensure a steady supply of recyclate. In the last seven months alone, the City of Cape Town collected 391 tons of bin material in exchange of new Fifty/50 bins. “The judges agreed that this was a text book example of how the entire process should be managed as it paves the way for other municipalities in South Africa to follow suit,” commented Anton Hanekom, executive director of Plastics|SA and one of the judges of this year’s competition.