“Since our inception two years ago, POLYCO has invested R17 million in the recycling value chain, which will unlock new volumes of 48 000 tonnes over the next three years, as well as creating 558 formal and 3750 informal jobs”


Johannesburg – POLYCO, the Polyolefin Recycling Company NPC, shared highlights of its successes achieved during the past year with board members and members of the media at its Annual General Meeting held in Midrand Johannesburg, yesterday .

POLYCO’S Chief Executive Officer Mandy Naudé, welcomed the audience to the second AGM since she has taken over the association’s reigns in January last year. “This time last year we had a vision and big ideas of what we wanted to accomplish in the months ahead, to truly impact the recycling industry in South Africa. Looking back today, we can say with pride that we have managed to meet the objectives we set for ourselves, and have learnt so much along the way!”

Naudé explained that the past year has been a year of both consolidation and growth. “We focused on putting vital business processes and infrastructure in place, and establishing a small, but permanent resource team that would allow the POLYCO brand to be introduced to an eagerly awaiting industry. Once that was done, we were able to focus our efforts on implementing our project funding support programme, communicating the positive impact polyolefin recycling, establishing networks within Industry and Government and facilitating the linking of collectors and recyclers in order to grow recycling volumes,” she said.

The biggest impact POLYCO made on the South African recycling industry since its inception two years ago, has undoubtedly been investing R17 million in the recycling value chain, which will unlock new volumes of 48 000 tonnes over the next three years, as well as creating 558 formal and 3 750 informal jobs.

Explains Naudé: “In 2014, we invested R11 million into various polyolefin recycling and collection businesses based on applications we received from recyclers and collectors from around the country. Whilst all of them shared our passion and the zeal to see the recycling of polyolefin packaging in South Africa take off, we selected robust projects that best met our support criteria, one of which is the most cost-effective rand per tonne investment to deliver the required sustainable growth.

As a direct result of the 2014 projects, we were able to divert 32 000 tonnes of plastics from our country’s landfill and into recycling volumes over the next 3 years. A 5 year plan project tool has been introduced to track our project implementation progress against the IWMP recycling target of 238 000 tonnes in 2020, which is our mandate from the polyolefin packaging Industry.”

Looking ahead and sharing POLYCO’s plans for the future, Naudé highlighted the anticipated changes in waste management legislation, namely the proposed introduction of a Waste Bureau and Pricing Strategy for waste management charges, as one of the biggest challenges it is preparing for.

“The exact format of the new body and the full impact it will have is yet unclear, but POLYCO has formally responded to the Gazette notification and made our position very clear. We are united with Packaging SA (previously PACSA) in calling on Government to continue with an industry managed recycling levy on the packaging converters for all local and imported polymer purchases, but making this compulsory and no longer voluntary, which eliminates the issue of free riders in the packaging industry. This levy will be managed by the Material Responsibility Organisations(MRO’s) like, POLYCO, PETCO,PSPC , Collect–a–Can, PRASA etc., who have established a successful track record and achieved a recycling rate of 51% for paper and packaging, this highest of all waste streams,” she said.

Future plans for the association includes calling for Collection Funding proposals on the 24th April 2015 and completing the evaluation process to be able to announce the successful candidates in August 2015. This will be followed by a Recycling Call for Proposals late in August 2015.

POLYCO will also be making a concerted effort to get South Africa’s brand owners and retailers onboard. “Brand owners and retailers exercise immense influence on the packaging industry and have a significant role to play in waste management and recycling. We are urging them to get onboard and share our vision of 100 % converter support of the material responsibility organisations (MRO’s), by insisting that their packaging suppliers are paying the current voluntary sustainability levy. Ultimately these MRO’s are ensuring that the packaging that is put onto the shelves, is being responsibly managed and recycled where possible”, Naudé concluded.