Sustainable Plastics Recycling

Sustainable Plastics Recycling

PETCO news


Cape Town, 7 August 2013. PETCO, the PET Recycling Company (Pty) Ltd, will be hosting the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisation (EPRO) for their first General Meeting to take place on African soil in Cape Town on the 20th of November. 

In order to maximize the opportunity to learn from each other's best practices with regards to waste management, recycling, the green economy and packaging initiatives, a global colloquium with leaders in the recycling and waste management industries will take place on Thursday, 21 November 2013.

The colloquium titled “Global Partnerships for a Sustainable Recycling Sector:  Sharing. Dialogue. Action” will see 15 international speakers paired with 15 local industry leaders sharing their views on the waste management and recycling economy, trends, legislative tools, technical innovation and more.

Cheri ScholtzAccording to Cheri Scholtz, CEO of PETCO, EPRO is an association of the national organisations charged with organising and promoting recycling and recovery of plastics throughout Europe.  PETCO is an Associate Member of EPRO and the only African country represented. PETCO is also a member of the Global Alliance for Recycling and Sustainable Development (GARSD) - an alliance of countries including Mexico, Thailand, Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia promoting sustainable waste management in developing countries.

"Both platforms are important portals for the exchange of ideas, innovation and learning for South Africa. Our association with these international bodies affords us the opportunity to learn from international best practices, as well as have a say on decisions that could ultimately impact global markets, legislation and trends, decisions that have a direct influence on the future of recycling and waste management here at the southern tip of Africa, where we have our own unique set of challenges", Cheri says.

"It is unlikely that we will ever again have so many international experts on our shores at the same time," Cheri says.  To this end, PETCO is inviting all industry partners and other interested parties to attend the full-day conference that will be taking place at The Pavillion, V&A Waterfront, on Thursday 21 November 2013.  

The conference enjoys the support of the South Africa's Recovery Action Group (RAG) members, whose members include Collect-a-Can, The Glass Recycling Company, Hulamin Limited, Packaging Council of South Africa, Paper Recycling Association of South Africa, PETCO, PlasticsISA, Polyco, the SA Plastics Recycling Organisation and the Polystyrene Council.

"We are hoping to see representatives of national and provincial government, municipalities and local authorities, waste management companies, collectors, sustainability practitioners, brand owners, retailers and packaging designers, NGO's, cooperatives, industry associations, academics and their students participate in discussions and share ideas, as well as make use of the opportunity to network and pose their questions during two debates that have been included in the programme," Cheri says.

The following themes will be addressed from a European, American or African perspective and a South African point of view:

  • Instruments for an enabling environment, aimed at enhancing co-operation with other countries, developing a well-coordinated global framework;
  • Key instruments and actions to boost recovery of packaging waste, looking beyond the targets, unpacking barriers and investigating opportunities to boost recovery;
  • Making recycling a bankable sector, analysing what it takes to make recycling and collection work;
  • The use and recycling of plastics in the agricultural sector;
  • Sustainability and advocacy across borders and the opportunities for global stakeholders; and
  • Technological innovation and advances, pushing the boundaries and encouraging closed loop systems and other future trends.

The colloquium will kick off with  video address from Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner on the Environment, and be followed by presentations by local and international speakers who will be able to give a balanced and insightful overview on how to overcome the challenges and maximise the opportunities, including:

  • Peter Sundt, Secretary General of EPRO
  • Francis Huysman, Chairman of EPRO
  • Dr Martin Engelmann, PlasticsEurope
  • Tristan Brunin, Valorplast (France)
  • An Vossen, Plarebel (Belgium)
  • Linda Godfrey, CSIR (South Africa's Representative on the EU Global Partnership on Waste Management)
  • Cherian Thomas, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
  • Mark Swilling , Sustainability Institute, University of Stellenbosch
  • Rustim Keeran, Solid Waste Management, City of Cape Town

In order for the European contingent to learn more about initiatives taking place in South Africa, various exhibitions will be on display by local companies who are involved in recycling, waste management and plastic packaging. 

Sufficient time has also been worked into the programme for networking opportunities between the delegates, whilst EPRO's visit to South Africa will conclude on Friday, 22 November 2013 with a half-day technical tour to a local recycling plant, wash plant and production facilities as well as other sustainable built environment projects and cultural tours.

Concludes Cheri:  "We look forward to a conference that will see global thought leaders meet and interact with their South African counterparts for a time of joint learning, sharing and inspiring each other to action that will cause a ripple effect around the world for generations to come… line with our colloquium tagline SHARING, DIALOGUE, ACTION".

Registration and ticket prices:

  • Early bird rate for attendance at the full-day conference is R1 450.00 (excluding VAT) per delegate and includes coffee and tea breaks, lunch and a post-event cocktail function.
  • This special extends to 31 August as well as for groups bookings of 3 delegates or more from the same company or institution.
  • Full delegate fee is R1 750 (excluding VAT) from 1 September onwards.
  • Please note that no payment will be accepted at the door or on the day.
  • Special arrangements for students to attend need to be made with the organisers ahead of time. 
  • Space is limited and tickets will be allocated on a first come, first paid basis.


Sponsorship, speakers and other partnership opportunities
For more information about the conference or to enquire about sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please contact the conference organisers: lisa. or . Telephonic enquiries can be made to (021) 531-0313.

Spokesperson: Cheri Scholtz                                    
PET Recycling Company (Pty) Ltd
021 794 6300

Released By: Lisa Parkes
For: PET Recycling Company (Pty) Ltd
Marketing, Membership & Events Manager – PETCO
021 794 6300 / 082 749 6132
Call toll free: 0860 147 738 ( 0860 1 is PET)
Find us on twitter & facebook: 1isPET


PETCO was established in December 2004 as a (Pty) Ltd Company with the specific objective of promoting and improving the waste management and recycling of post-consumer Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) products on behalf of all stakeholders in the PET industry in South Africa. Cheri Scholtz, CEO of PETCO currently chairs the Sustainability Council of PlasticsISA. The Council provides strategic leadership on sustainability issues in the plastics industry.
What is PET?
PET was first developed for use in 1941. Although originally produced for fibres, PET began to be used for packaging films in the mid-1960s and then, in the early 1970s, for manufacturing beverage bottles. The PET bottle was patented in 1973 by chemist Nathaniel Wyeth (brother of distinguished American painter Andrew Wyeth). The most common container in the soft drink market today in South Africa is the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle.  Recognisable as the transparent, rigid container used to package bottled water, carbonated soft drinks (CSD’s), sports drinks, water, juice, peanut butter, salad dressings, oil, cosmetics and household cleaners, PET is labelled with the # 1 code and is 100% recyclable. PET bottles are safe, contrary to old wives tales, PET is Bisphenol A (BPA) free, Dioxin free, Diethylhydroxylamine (DEHA) free, and phthalate free.

PET bottle recycling
PET bottles are 100% recyclable. The first PET bottle was recycled in 1977. Over 1.4 billion PET bottles are being recycled annually across South Africa, close to 4 million bottles recycled every day. In Europe in 2008, about 40% of all PET bottles were collected for recycling. In SA in 2011 we achieved an annual Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) recycling rate of 42% of post-consumer beverage PET.  42 651 tons of PET were collected and recycled out of a 145 000 ton 2011 local consumption resin market. Over the past 6 years we’ve gone from 9,840 to 42,651 tons of post-consumer PET bottles recycled or from 324 million bottles recycled in the first year to well over 1.4 billion bottles recycled in 2011.

How is PET collected?
Collection schemes differ from country to country and from town to town. However the methods used are generally one of the following:

  • Kerbside collection: consumers separate bottles from their household waste putting them in special bags, then the bags are collected by the municipality;
  • Drop-off Locations: collection containers are placed in particular locations where the consumer can leave his bottles;
  • Return Vending: generally placed in supermarkets, return vending machines allow consumers to return containers and receive coupons or tokens in return.
  • Once the bottles are collected, they are sent to the sorting line to separate the various streams of material.

Carbon footprint
The carbon footprint of plastic water bottles can be reduced by 25% if consumers recycle them. As far as carbon is concerned, recycling 1 ton of PET saves 1.5 tons of CO², so total saved via PET recycling is in excess of 63 000 tons of CO² for 2011.  Did you know that recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W light bulb for up to 6 hours?

Job creation
Increasing PET plastic bottle recycling leads to job creation in the waste management, product development, manufacturing and marketing sectors. PETCO has contributed to the creation of 23 000- 26 000 income opportunities in the informal sector to date.

PET post-consumer product
Gauteng generates the most PET post-consumer product at 55% of the national total, followed by the Western Cape with 13%. KwaZulu Natal accounts for 10% of PET waste, the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga account for 5% each, the North West and Free State each generate 4% of SA’s post-consumer PET product and Limpopo and Northern Cape create the smallest PET post-consumer product at 3% and 1% respectively.

What happens to your used PET bottles and containers?
Discarded post-consumer PET bottles are collected (principally by informal collectors), baled and delivered to the recycler. At present PET fetches one of the highest prices at recycler, with approximately 38 bottles making up 1kg of PET.
Within the recycling plant, bottle tops are removed and the bottles are inspected and sorted according to colour and material. The sorted bottles are washed and then conveyed to a granulator, where they are reduced to flakes before being screened.  These flakes are then washed, dried and then conveyed to an extruder where the material is turned into pellets. The finished product takes the form of small clear pellets which are supplied to end-users for production of other items. To see the Story of PET see

What is recycled PET used for?
The South African PET Recycling is unique in that almost all of the post-consumer PET bottles collected are recycled into a local end-use and not exported to China, as is done by many other countries. Recycled PET or rPET is used as feedstock into a number of items we encounter every day:  fibre for polyester carpeting, shopping bags, ceiling insulation and geotextiles ; fabric for T-shirts, long underwear, athletic shoes, luggage, upholstery and sweaters; fibrefill for sleeping bags and winter coats; industrial strapping, sheet and film; automotive parts, such as luggage racks, headliners, fuse boxes, bumpers, grilles and door panels; and new PET containers for both food and non-food products.  Did you know that 19 x 500ml PET bottles make the fibre for a standard pillow?
PET is the building block of the common polyester chain, hence the name poly(ethylene terephthalate)- ester. The everyday name depends on whether it is being used as a fibre or as a material for making things like bottles for soft drinks. When it is being used as a fibre to make clothes, it is often just called polyester. It may sometimes be known by a brand name like Terylene. When it is being used to make bottles, for example, it is called PET.
The largest end-use market for post-consumer PET bottles in South Africa is currently the polyester staple fibre market (Bottle2Fibre) although we are slowly reaching market saturation.  There is installed capacity for Bottle2Foodgrade resin, with a recycled content of up to 25%, possible. Up take in the Bottle2Foodgrade sector is still relatively slow but it is improving with the recent release of detergents, sandwich packs and juice bottles with recycled content into the market. PETCO is however working with retailers and brand owners to increase the demand for PET recyclate. There are also approved technologies in place for post consumer PET bottles, to be recycled into new bottles (Bottle2Bottle) and this is where the future growth in South Africa will be. PETCO is currently spearheading a project with SABS to develop standards for recycled PET plastic content in food grade packaging.  To s

PET collection/ drop off sites
You can assist in increasing collection of good, clean PET by:

  • Participation in collection and awareness raising projects
  • Making use of drop off facilities and plastics recovery stations at municipal collection points.
  • Separation of waste into recyclable and non
  • Increased purchasing and use of clear bags (that make it easier for collectors to see what’s in them)
  • Maybe even buying items containing recycled content to “close the loop”


Premier Packaging
KraussMaffei Injection Moulding Machines
Toyota Tsusho - Resins for plastic interior and exterior moldings
Nissei ASB - Injection Stretch Blow Moulding Machines
Refurbish and Manufacture Barrels and Screws and Supply Extrusion Equipment
Italpack - Plastic Packaging Manufacturers
PMS Plastics - Injection Moulding Machines - Blow Moulding Machines and Auxiliaries
Schaldor Plastics - Plastic Bottles, Plastic Caps, Plastic Triggers and Containers Manufacturers
Perspex Acrylic Plastic Sheet Manufacturer
Plastic Packaging and Film Manufacturers LogiSmart
Blakelin Plastics - Cosmetic Packaing Plastic Bottles and Caps
Polyoak Packaging Plastic Packaging
Gantec Tool and Die - Injection Moulds - Injection Moulding
Looks good!

market your plastics products and services on Plastixprtal