Plastics are by far the most common and highly used synthetic material, found almost everywhere including our homes, workplace, school, marketplace and beyond. The high usage of plastics means that the rate of plastic disposal is also at an all-time high. As a result, there is a need to find ways of reusing or simply removing them from the environment since the material is non-degradable and very harmful to humans and wildlife.
The South African Plastics Recycling Organization (SAPRO) is the main body that coordinates plastic recyclers in South Africa. Its members prepare raw materials from the sorted and baled used plastics, which has been done successfully and in an organised manner for years, resulting in South Africa being ranked among the leading recycling countries globally. In 2016 alone, for example, South Africa reused 309520 tons of plastics only. Nonetheless, this major fete cannot be mentioned without talking about the companies behind the figures. In this write-up, discover more about the leading plastic recycling companies in South Africa 2019 and their workings.
What type of plastic can I recycle?
Before looking at the top 5 plastic recycling companies in South Africa 2019, it is equally important to answer the question, “What type of plastic can I recycle?” Well, this may leave you with a puzzle since most people think all plastic materials can be reprocessed. In fact, the common “chasing arrows” sign displayed on plastic products and containers does not imply that the product is biodegradable. The truth lies in the little number located in the middle of the triangle.
With the numbers ranging from one to seven, their main purpose is to identify the plastic material used to make the product. Hence, not all products are reusable. Below is the meaning behind each number in the triangle to help you identify the type of plastic material to recycle:
1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
PET is found in most pop and water bottles and some packaging materials. They are not easy to decontaminate and thorough cleaning requires harmful chemicals. The material may also leach carcinogens. Thus, products with the number one inside the triangle should only be recycled and not reused.
2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
This is the tough material used to make oil and detergent bottles, toys, some polythene bags and milk jugs. It is cost-effective and relatively simple to reuse HDPE products for secondary use.
3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
This is a flexible and soft material used to make cooking oil bottles, teething rings, clear plastic food packaging, toys and blister packaging for various consumer products. There are more than 40 recyclers in South Africa that recycle PVC, as stated by the South African Plastics Recycling Organization (SAPRO). This is a great achievement in the fight against pollution by plastics. Another good news is, PVC can be repurposed, though some should not be reused for food or children’s use for safety reasons.
4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
LDPE is usually found in squeezable bottles, dry cleaner clothing bags, and shrink wraps. These materials are reusable, but they may not be recyclable at times.
5. Polypropylene (PP)
PP is lightweight and tough with the best heat-resistance abilities. Products made from this material can be reused and recycled including brooms, battery cases, plastic bottle tops, yogurt and margarine containers, packaging tapes, straws, and disposable diapers.
6. Polystyrene (PS)
PS is a lightweight, easily-formed and inexpensive material with a broad range of uses that include egg cartons, foam packaging, and picnic cutlery. The recyclers of this material may not be easily available, but it can be reused for some safe purposes.
What are the top 5 plastic recycling companies found in South Africa?
Here are the top 5 plastic recycling companies in South Africa 2019 that have significantly contributed to the low levels of wastes in the country.
PETCO, also called PET Recycling Company NPC, was incorporated in 2004 to enhance South Africa’s joint effort of regulating used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling. The company’s unique model is based on the simple principle of a financed environmental and industry-driven solution for used PET plastic. It acknowledges that, apart from the life-saving and convenience of plastics, a solution for used polythene packaging is vital to reduce its effects on the environment. Its operations cover the whole country with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
2. Rhino Recycling (Pty) Ltd
With its head office being in Flamingo Crescent in Lenasia South, Johannesburg, Rhino Recycling (Pty) Ltd is a specialist in environmental conservation through post-consumer polythene product recycling. It offers end-to-end community and business solutions to help achieve high levels of environmental solutions through awareness, efficiency, and transparency of all levels of recycling. The company also help wit removing rubble and assets from houses, big building sites, and complexes. While Pty Ltd is mainly involved in the plastic recycling industry in South Africa, it is also engaged in reprocessing of the following materials:
- Cardboard and paper
- Steel and aluminum.
3. Mpact Limited
With an experience of more than 50 years in the industry, Mpact is one of the leading plastics and paper packaging manufacturing companies in South Africa. It also ranks among the top recyclers of recovered plastic and paper. By reducing the amount of disposed wastes to landfill, the company gives hope for a better future for the forthcoming generations. It has succeeded in producing and reproducing packaging products through its state-of-the-art investments in packaging and plastic recycling technologies. Mpact Company continues to work round-the-clock with different stakeholders that include businesses, consumers, and the government to further enhance the reusing rates in the country.
4. Atlantic Plastic Recycling
Started in 1989 as a family-owned company, Atlantic Plastic Recycling employs modern plant machinery and equipment customised for ensuring better quality polythene products as well as a cleaner environment. The company has succeeded in the skills development and training through various ways including the recruiting, training, and developing of its employees. It is also involved in in-house processes and training the suppliers in various methods of polythene sorting and collection. In fact, it has built special training facilities to improve such training programs.
To continue supplying quality products that are highly demanded by the plastic manufacturing sector, this company has complied with South Arica Plastics Recycling Organization (SAPRO). It has also acquired NEMWA-WIS Certificate of Registration to allow it to effectively provide exceptional services.
ALPLA is one of the world’s leading companies specializing in the production of innovative packaging solutions from polythene material. Found in over 178 locations, the company serves around 46 countries spread over four continents. It produces innovative plastic packaging systems, injection-molded parts, bottles, and closures for various industries. Since 2014, ALPLA has been running its production site in Johannesburg, South Africa.
How did ALPLA Plastic Recycling Company come into existence?
Two brothers; Alwin and Helmuth Lehner founded ALPLA or “Alpenplastik Lehner Alwin GmbH” in 1955 in Hard, Australia. It has been undergoing various improvements and acquisitions over the years to ensure that its recycling services South Africa and other parts of the world are accessible to the customers. It integrates environmental, ethical, and social concerns in its core strategy and recycling business operation.
Over the recent past years, the need to recondition polythene products to minimise waste dumping has been a major aim of every nation. As seen above, several polythene recycling companies have started their operations in South Africa to meet this urgent need. Hence, a global epidemic has been turned into a lucrative business by recycling plastic products for money.