The South African PET recycling sector is stepping up to assist recycling SMMEs following the new mandatory separation-at-source programme launched by the City of Ekurhuleni earlier this month.
Through the initiative, which is being led by national recycling body PETCO and key players in the PET value chain, a number of small enterprises will be equipped to participate more effectively in the “circular economy”, by deriving value from post-consumer waste.
The initiative comes after SMMEs and informal waste collector expressed concerns that they would be sidelined by the new separation-at-source scheme.
Last week, PET plastic bottle converter Serioplast and the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) donated equipment, which included baling machines, industrial platform scales and signage, to Johannesburg-based SMMEs with the aims of improving the collection, weighing and baling of recyclable material for resale to recycling businesses.
Other Gauteng-based beneficiaries that are set to receive similar donations from PETCO in the coming weeks include Ekhuliza Gauteng Primary Cooperative and CJU Environmental Management in Boksburg and Lakhwisha Holdings in Vosloorus.
Creating a recycling consciousness
Cheri Scholtz, PETCO chief executive officer, says the citywide household recycling initiative was a positive step forward in creating a recycling consciousness among ordinary South Africans.
“PET recycling has been particularly effective in creating a “circular economy”, with plastic water and soft drink bottles offering post-consumer value to waste collectors and recyclers, while also reducing producers’ need for virgin PET material,” she notes.
“PETCO believes that the training and mentorship of waste entrepreneurs is critical in helping them to grow and sustain their businesses. Ultimately, this will stimulate economic growth, job creation and the development of our country as a whole.”
Serioplast director Alessandro Innocenti says, as a bottle converter, the company was aware of plastic’s potentially negative environmental impact and that, instead of dumping bottles in landfill sites, it was vital to find ways of unlocking the value in waste and giving it new life.
“It’s time we all start treating plastic like the valuable resource it is. Serioplast is proud to support PETCO’s commitment to a green, inclusive economy that helps the environment and has a positive impact on local communities.”