Million Plus, a consumer recycling campaign led by Polyco PRO NPC, is aiming to mobilise more than one million South Africans to commit to recycling their plastic packaging to keep it out of the environment and out of landfill, and instead put it back into the recycling value chain. Forging ahead towards this target, Polyco has rolled out a nation-wide school recycling initiative, delivering a total of 320 recycling bins to 80 schools across the country.
For this Million Plus schools’ campaign, each school will receive two double recycling bins (four in total). One bin is for plastic recycling and the other bin is for other recyclables.
To support the use of these bins at schools, Polyco are collaborating with the Pick n Pay School Club to distribute important educational material that will help teachers and learners understand how to recycle plastic packaging and the importance of keeping recyclables out of the environment and landfill.
“To reinforce the message that used plastic packaging has value, all recycling bins distributed as part of this school’s campaign were made from recycled plastic,” says Patricia Pillay, Chief Executive Officer at Polyco. “A total of 8000kg of recycled plastic was used by MyWaste to make the 320 bins. All production offcuts were recycled back into planks and poles, having no waste come from the manufacturing process for these bins.”
Bins are clearly labelled with signs indicating what recyclable material needs to go in each. The signs on the recycling bins were made using toothpaste tubes, 213 333 tubes in total. Toothpaste tubes are known to be difficult to recycle. “One of our project partners, Infinite Industries, has found innovative solutions to recycle and repurpose materials such as toothpaste tubes. With this initiative, we managed to divert all these tubes that might have otherwise landed up at landfill and put them towards a better purpose,” says Pillay.
Using the 213 333 toothpaste tubes, a total of 640 recycling sign boards were manufactured, amounting to 1280kg of recycled plastic waste being used in total for the signs.
“By taking this approach of using recycled plastic to make bins and toothpaste tubes for signage, we are showing school learners the value of recycling,” says Pillay. “By recycling plastic waste, we are contributing to the circular economy. Recycled plastic re-enters the product value-chain to go towards the production of new products, keeping it out of the environment.”
“Pick n Pay School Club have played a central role in the roll out of Polyco’s Million Plus school’s recycling education over the years. We have previously collaborated to disseminate educational material to their schools and now we have partnered again to distribute these recycling bins as well as additional educational resources,” says Pillay. To date, Polyco and Pick n Pay have distributed recycling educational posters and worksheets to 2375 primary schools across the country and reached over 2 million children and educators through the Million Plus schools recycling initiative.
“The Million Plus recycling education in schools has proven to be a big success so far. Children take important messages about recycling learnt at school home to their families and the greater community.”
Anyone can join the Million+ campaign by signing up at www.millionplusrecyclers.co.za or by following millionplusrecyclers on Facebook and Instagram. By signing up as a recycling revolutionary, you are making a commitment to recycle all your plastic packaging after use. If every person that recycles encourages just one more person to start recycling, the commitment to recycling in South Africa will spread from a small minority of people to mass action, and a cleaner environment for all. Recycling is something that every person can do to make a positive impact on the earth.