Polyco, a producer-responsibility organisation (PRO) for the plastic industry is launching a municipal-focused recycling strategy, aimed at drastically improving the country’s recycling rates. To implement this ‘first of its kind’ strategy, Polyco will be working with municipalities to invest in recycling infrastructure, innovation, and to implement consumer education and awareness campaigns.
Polyco has partnered with the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM), Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB) and the Buffalo City Development Agency (BCMDA) to implement this recycling strategy in East London.
“Through this consortium, we have funded local recycling businesses within East London to facilitate the collection and recycling of material,” says Patricia Pillay, Chief Executive Officer at Polyco. “There is a growing demand for recyclate across industry in South Africa, and by improving collection facilities, recycling infrastructure, and by influencing consumer behaviour towards recycling, we can ensure that we start meeting the demand for recyclate.”
In conjunction to funding support for recycling businesses, a community-focused recycling initiative has been welcomed by residents in East London. The Packa-Ching recycling project encourages residents to collect their recyclables and bring them to a buy-back centre, where they will have their recycling weighed and then will be paid for it. This is an easy-to-use system that makes recycling and its rewards accessible to many. To support Polyco’s recycling strategy in Buffalo City Municipality, two Packa-Ching buy-back sites have been established, along with a wide-spread public education and awareness campaign.
“Many municipalities face similar pressure with available landfill space quickly diminishing and increased pressure from national government to improve recycling rates,” says Pillay. “Our municipal-focused recycling strategy focuses on collaboration with municipalities and local businesses to improve local product value-chains and to positively influence consumer behaviour towards recycling different materials. As an industry-PRO our focus is on repositioning plastic waste as a valuable resource, and we do this by working with stakeholders along product value-chains, to see how we can improve the adoption of recycling.”
“Polyco is ready to work with other municipalities to implement our recycling strategy,” says Pillay. “Every municipality has unique social, economic and environmental conditions, and our Packa-Ching recycling project has proven to be adaptive and successful across many different communities. Our recycling strategy is an extension to this, aimed at establishing recycling infrastructure and changing people’s perception regarding the value of waste.”
Polyco is a registered PRO in South Africa. In response to recently introduced waste management regulations, Polyco has made the decision to broaden its focus to all plastic types under extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations. This decision has been made to increase its support to producers to manage their products’ life cycle responsibly.
With new EPR regulations, it is now mandatory for producers to join a PRO or form one themselves. Under the EPR regulations, legislated for implementation from 5 November 2021, producers, through their PROs or independent schemes, are legally mandated to manage their products at end of life in order to grow the downstream reuse and recycling of their materials to achieve the published legislated targets. Obligated producers have until 5 November 2021 to register with the DFFE and ensure that all identified products are covered by an EPR scheme.
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