How Plastic Recycling Industry Immensely Contributed To SA’s Informal Sector In 2018

By  |  August 20, 2019

Plastics South Africa’s latest statistics show that the country is recycling more plastic waste than ever before. The Southern African country is making serious strides towards managing and eliminating plastics.

The new study by Plastics South Africa shows that more than 519,370 tons of plastic waste was collected for recycling in 2018, this was enough to save oil that could fuel 200,000 cars for a year, traveling 30,000 km/year.

The recycling of plastics grew by 6.7 percent in 2018 saving 246,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Importantly, the sector did create direct jobs for more than 7,800 people and injected ZAR 2.3 Bn into the informal sector through the purchasing of recyclable plastic waste.

“Despite facing major challenges last year, the plastics industry made important strides forward. Plastic bags manufacturers removed fillers to produce bags that are fully recyclable. In addition, 100 percent certified recycled plastic material is now used to produce some carrier bags. This creates an end-market for recycled plastic products and helps to reduce waste to landfill,” said Anton Hanekom, executive director at Plastics SA.

He noted that it becomes mutually beneficial for both the environment and the industry if the products produced become part of a circular economy.

He added that: “Recyclables are a valuable resource and should be removed from the solid waste stream before reaching landfills where they become contaminated and extraction costly.”

Hanekom further called on stakeholders to work together to manufacture, process and manage the end-of-life products locally so that the consumer, the industry and the planet benefits.

The sector currently employs 60,000 people according to the executive director of Plastics SA.

The country known to be Africa’s most industrialised earlier banned the use of Plastic Bags. Immediately after disallowing the use, the usage dropped by 90 percent.

The Cyril-Ramaphosa led country recently started a project that will see millions of tonnes of plastic bags put to use. It began the construction of Africa’s first plastic road.

The road which is being constructed in Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape could utilise up to 1,8 million plastic bags in just a kilometer.

The project will go a long way in helping eliminate plastics which would otherwise end up in landfills.

Featured Image Courtesy: Willem Deyzel

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