The Polyolefin Responsibility Organisation (Polyco) is committed to growing the collection and recycling of polyolefin plastic packaging in South Africa and to promote the responsible use and reuse of this plastic packaging. After a special resolution vote at Polyco’s 8th Annual General Meeting with regards to the proposed new EPR legislation, as contemplated under section 18(1) of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008, Polyco has once again proven their dedication to reduce the amount of plastics going to landfill and to end plastic waste in the environment. Polyco has announced that they have committed to represent all three areas of polyolefin packaging; namely rigid polyolefin packaging, flexible polyolefin packaging and multilayer packaging, under the proposed new EPR scheme.

Polyco represents the largest polymer group in South Africa, with approximately 196 000 tonnes of polyolefin packaging being mechanically recycled annually (output based). The organisation is funded by their members, who are passionate about the environment and are committed to realising a clean South Africa. Current members pay a voluntary levy for every tonne of virgin polymer purchased from either local or overseas raw-material suppliers, and in turn Polyco ensures that their extended producer responsibilities are performed.

Under the pending extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation, planned for implementation in 2021 by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), producers, through their producer responsibility organisations, will be mandated to manage their products at end-of-life in order to grow the downstream reuse and recycling of their materials to achieve agreed legislated targets. Within this pending legislation, the provision is made for separate EPR schemes for rigid polyolefin packaging, flexible polyolefin packaging and multilayer packaging. As Polyco’s current membership base comprises 95% rigid-packaging converters and only 5% flexible-packaging converters, the Polyco Board raised the option of Polyco representing only rigid polyolefin packaging producers and submitting a rigid EPR scheme only.

To decide on the best way forward, a special resolution vote was taken at Polyco’s 8th Annual General Meeting. Paying members cast their vote as to whether Polyco should represent a rigid packaging plan only; rigid and flexible plans; or for the rigid, flexible and multilayer EPR schemes to fall under Polyco. The vote resulted in the decision for Polyco to submit EPR schemes that will represent rigid polyolefin packaging, flexible polyolefin packaging and multilayer packaging.

“I am glad that this was a fair democratic process where the members have had their say. It is a good thing for Polyco and for the industry – we will be stronger together,” said Polyco’s Chairman, Jeremy Macintosh.  

“We are encouraged by the amount of industry feedback received by certain sectors of the flexible industry and large flexible packaging producers in South Africa. They have expressed a willingness to join Polyco and be part of the way forward,” added Mandy Naude, Polyco’s CEO.

“We encourage packaging producers from these sectors to join Polyco now, and not to wait. It’s important that you have a voice in the compilation of the three separate EPR schemes which Polyco will be preparing,” concluded Naude.