Polyco, the Polyolefin Responsibility Organisation NPC, celebrates its tenth birthday in 2021 and also says farewell to its long-standing Chief Executive Officer, Mandy Naudé.

Polyco was established as a non-profit organisation in 2011 by a group of South Africa’s responsible polyolefin plastic-packaging converters and represents the largest polymer group in South Africa. In 2013, Mandy Naudé was appointed as Polyco’s first CEO and has seen the organisation become established and flourish since then. Some of Polyco’s achievements over the years under her leadership include making more than R65 million available for project funding in South Africa, creating more than 7 500 income-earning opportunities in the sector, having more than 64 000 tonnes of polyolefin plastic collected by the collection projects in which Polyco invested in, more than 26 000 tonnes of polyolefin plastic recycled by the recycling projects they invested in, developing the innovative collection business Packa-Ching and launching the Million+ Plastic Recycling Revolution campaign to consumers across South Africa.

“It is an incredible experience to be able to support a deserving company to grow further and to do even more to help make polyolefin packaging waste a valuable resource for our economy. I would like to acknowledge the Polyco Board and our Polyco members when it comes to how they have embraced the support of the value chain across all polyolefin substrates – rigid, flexible and multilayer packaging – to build the knowledge base and relationships in preparation for mandatory EPR. Without this robust level of support, the Operations team would not be in the strong position Polyco is in today, ready to transition to mandatory EPR in South Africa,” says Naudé.

Naudé’s philosophy of collaboration has meant that relationships have been built over the shared vision of a litter-free South Africa, a vision where used packaging waste is seen as having immense value for recycling. In 2010, the industry recycled 179 000 tonnes of polyolefins and in 2019, 247 000 tonnes of polyolefins were recycled for the year, showcasing Naudé’s ability to lead and drive an impactful and meaningful organisation.

Naudé has led and shaped many projects in the industry, one of which is Packa-Ching. This is one of Polyco’s innovative business models that has without a doubt touched the hearts of everyone who comes across it. Seven Packa-Ching units are now operating across South Africa, three million kilograms of used packaging has been collected, and more than R2,5 million has been paid to community members who need it the most, just for doing the right thing and seeing the value in this used packaging material.

“Polyco is destined to grow and develop extensively under mandatory EPR, and under the leadership of Patricia Pillay as the new CEO of Polyco. Patricia’s expertise combined with the passion of the Polyco Operations team, will allow the heart of Polyco to continue to beat strongly for years to come.” concludes Naudé.”

Patricia Pillay takes over as Polyco’s CEO in August and brings with her vast legal, advocacy and regulatory experience having served as the Executive for Legal, Regulatory & Sustainability at the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa for the past ten years and as the current CEO of the Beer Association of South Africa. “I am indeed honoured to take over the reins from a strong leader like Mandy who grew Polyco to be the well-oiled machine it is today. I look forward to this next phase of Polyco’s journey, where we have extended our MOI to include all plastics and not just polyolefins, to meet our stakeholders needs. Working together we can minimise waste in the environment and make South Africa the cleanest country in Africa,” concludes Pillay.