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South Africa seems to be on the right path with recycling plastic.

According to a study by Plastics South Africa, a body representing the South African plastics industry, more than 519,370 tons of plastic waste was collected for recycling in 2018.

This was enough to save oil that could fuel 200,000 cars for a year, travelling 30,000 km/year.

Plastic recycling grew by 6.7% in 2018 from 2017, saving 246,000 tons of carbon dioxide (the equivalent emissions of 51,200 cars in the same year).

The plastic recycling industry also had a positive impact on job creation and the economy, providing direct employment to more than 7,800 people last year.

This injected R2.3 billion into the informal sector through the purchasing of recyclable plastic waste.

Anton Hanekom, executive director at Plastics SA told ENCA that despite facing major challenges last year, the plastics industry made important strides forward.

“Plastic bags manufacturers removed fillers to produce bags that are fully recyclable. In addition, 100% certified recycled plastic material is now used to produce some carrier bags. This creates an end-market for recycled plastic products and helps to reduce waste to landfill. By ensuring that the products we create become part of a circular economy, we create a win-win situation for the environment and for the industry that employs 60,000 people.”

“Recyclables are a valuable resource and should be removed from the solid waste stream before reaching landfills where they become contaminated and extraction costly.”

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