South Africa – More than 2 billion plastic bottles were recycled in South Africa last year. In fact, the country’s volumes of recycled polyethylene bottles have soared 800% since 2005, according to recycler PETCO.
PETCO processed an additional 22% (90 749 tons) of post-consumer bottles last year when compared to 2015.
South Africa’s PET recycling rate exceeded expectations in increasing from 52% in 2015 to 55% in 2016 – a figure that ‘compares well’ internationally, it says, given a US rate of post-consumer PET recycling of around 30% and European averages of some 59%.
‘PETCO is delighted with the latest figures,’ comments company ceo Cheri Scholtz. The voluntary recycling fee paid annually by PETCO members on every ton of raw material purchased has enabled payment of 1.9 billion rand (US$ 140 million) by contracted recyclers to collectors for baled bottles since PETCO’s launch in 2004.
‘This incentive ensures that the collection of PET bottles for recycling is sustained, and results in almost 800 000 tons of carbon and over 3 million m3 of landfill space having been saved to date,’ Scholtz points out.
Besides collecting over 2 billion plastic bottles last year, the recycling sector provided around 62 000 jobs for small and micro-collectors, thus ‘changing their lives and those of their families in immeasurable ways’, according to Scholtz.