South African plastic industry recycled 2.15 billion PET plastic bottles in 2017.
The South African plastic industry recycled a record 2.15 billion PET plastic bottles last year, putting the country on par with international standards of recycling plastic bottles.

SA PET Recycling Company (Petco) chief executive Cheri Scholtz said the organisation was thrilled with the latest figures.

Scholtz explained that the recycling figures set a post-consumer recycling rate of 65%.

She said the 93 235 tons of collected PET exceeded the industry target of 58% for the year 2017, creating 64 000 income-generating opportunities for waste pickers, collectors and recyclers and saved 578 000m of landfill space and 13000 tons of carbon in the process.

“Through the remarkable network of people, companies and organisations we work with, 5.9 million PET bottles were collected for recycling across South Africa every day during the course of 2017.”

Scholtz said the 3% year-on-year increase in tonnage (versus 90 749 tons in 2016) was particularly significant against the backdrop of the political and economic instability, volatile exchange rates and industrial strike action that affected some of the major industry players in 2017.

Scholtz said Petco members paid a voluntary recycling fee on every ton of raw material purchased, which funded their efforts and supported a sustainable industry.

Petco chairperson Casper Durandt, who is also head of technical for Coca-Cola’s South African franchise, said the organisation’s accomplishment could not have been achieved without its partners.

“They have made extraordinary contributions to the recycling of post-consumer PET in SA, thereby enabling Petco to expand our collection network, build relationships with recyclers, seek new opportunities to develop and support entrepreneurs, and grow our recycling tonnages.”