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Cape Town’s drought puts pressure on PET bottle recycling

PETCO reports that as demand for plastic bottles is at an all-time high in the Western Cape region due to the drought, the local recycling capacity in the province is at maximum production and has been unable to process the additional influx of bottles. Business has come to the rescue…

Naas du Preez, Group MD, Oasis Water, and Cheri Scholtz, CEO, PETCO.

This month, PETCO associate member, Oasis Water, recycling experts, Extrupet, and PETCO have transported 15 tonnes of baled bottles to the Extrupet facility in Gauteng for processing.

This is to overcome the challenge and prevent these additional bottles having to be sent to landfill.

Chandru Wadhwani, joint MD of Extrupet and PETCO board member, says: “For me the pressing driver here is to ensure that the extra volume of PET bottles that have found their way to the Western Cape on the back of the water crisis finds a home in a recycled product.

“Just by way of scale, the load 15 tons on the truck sponsored by Oasis Water, means half a million bottles will now be recycled that otherwise wouldn’t have been.

“This is the ultimate value of this initiative and companies like Oasis Water need to be commended – they set the perfect example of what extended producer responsibility entails.”

Group director of Oasis Water, Naas du Preez, says: “With the influx of bottled water into Cape Town we believe, as a responsible brand, that we must also assist and be depended upon to take care of the environment and have sponsored the transport as a sign of goodwill.

“We are also challenging fellow bottlers and players in the industry to do the same and assist with keeping recycling responsible.”

PETCO is now monitoring the situation closely to determine whether additional transportation will be needed to ease the burden on the Western Cape recycling capacity, and encourages other companies to offer financial support should this become necessary.

PETCO at work

The PET recycling company (PETCO) has made massive strides in increasing SA recycling rates in recent years, resulting in a 55% tally in 2016- that means more than 90 000 tonnes of PET or two billion bottles being recycled each year.  

PETCO CEO, Cheri Scholtz, says this effectively means that SA is currently recycling more than half of all post-consumer PET bottles in the market and more bottles are being recycled than those going into landfill.

“Through the remarkable network of people, companies and organisations we work with, we have created more than 60,000 income opportunities for small and micro-collectors, changing their lives and those of their families in immeasurable ways and injecting almost R900-million into the economy to date.”

PETCO’s contracted recycling partner, Extrupet, has a fibre producing plant in Milnerton in Cape Town and a bottle-2-bottle plant in Wadeville, Johannesburg, where recycled PET plastic bottles are used to manufacture new bottles for many food-grade applications or recycled into a myriad new and useful products such as polyester fibre for duvets and pillows, jeans and t-shirts, and reusable shopping bags.

This process has made SA a self-sufficient manufacturer of polyester fibre, no longer reliant on imports.

Source: PETCO

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