With excessive plastic waste under the spotlight, sustainable and plant-based alternatives are currently in development in South Africa. The country has large amounts of sugar cane bagasse and other biomass feed-stocks which are suitable for bio-plastics.
In an attempt to put the waste to use, the Southern Africa country is in the process of establishing a bio-plastic industry.
The country, known to be the most industrialised in the continent has landed a major deal that will bring the project near to reality. The government of Japan and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have signed a funding agreement in a bid to boost the initiative that is a United Nations project.
The government of Japan made known funding support of USD 1.8 Mn for the project. The investment will boost the project that seeks to transition conventional plastics to sustainable alternatives.
During the launch of the project, Japan’s Ambassador to South Africa, Norio Maruyama, said that the signing ceremony marked the significant achievement further stressing on the importance of the collaboration among South African companies in the project.
Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina of the Department of Trade and Industry said, “The dti welcomes the support by the Japanese government and the partnership between UNIDO and the CSIR, since biodegradable plastics are just being introduced locally.”
Khaled El Mekwad, UNIDO Representative highlighted that other countries in the SADC region could adopt the “triangular cooperation model with UNIDO and Japan to the local development set-up.”
Trudi Makhaya, Economic Advisor to President Cyril Ramaphosa, welcomed this initiative adding that the innovation is applied in new industries to ensure the economy to ensure former shortcomings do not reoccur.
The bio-plastics industry has the potential to provide employment opportunities in the country. The number of those unemployed is on a fast rise as data released on Tuesday showed that the unemployment rate in South Africa is at its highest in 11 years.
Featured Image Courtesy: Amazon.com