The framework’s goal is a dedicated, source-selected collection model in partnership with major retailers and brand owners. ‘The amount of recyclable PVC available greatly affects the feasibility of the recycling system because it requires a minimum quantity of waste to allow for a technically and economically feasible operation,’ remarks SAVA CEO, Adri Spangenberg. ‘Our biggest challenge will be consolidating the resources from the various producer responsibility organisations (PROs) and initiatives to facilitate the collection of all recyclable dry packaging waste.’
Once in a centralised collection and sorting facility, Adri explains that material sorting can be done responsibly and systematically to optimise beneficiation for each fraction.
After removing the higher volume, easier-to-recycle materials, the PVC value chain needs to utilise available international technology – scaled to localised conditions – to manufacture the left-over fraction into alternative products. This capital equipment investment will require external funding subsidisation.
Promoting retailer participation
Adri also emphasises that it’s vital to engage retailers because, firstly, they play an important role in supporting the EPR regulations (published in January), which define ‘a producer’ as a person, category of persons or company that sells any commodity under a registered brand label. This definition covers the commercial manufacture, conversion, refurbishment or importation of new and/or used packaging products and raw materials.
Secondly, the limited nature of locally-produced post-consumer vinyl packaging waste requires convenient and highly visible drop-off bins. SAVA is, therefore, negotiating with Massmart to place these bins at the group’s Builder’s Warehouse, Cambridge Food, CBW, Dion-Wired, Game, Jumbo and Makro stores.
Consumers visiting participating Massmart stores will be encouraged to deposit their clean, dry PVC packaging, such as honey and medicine bottles, wrapping, blister packs, linen and clothing pouches, and gift wrapping in the allocated bins. Producers could incentivise consumers by developing a take-back system, in partnership with the retailer, which rewards them for every kilogram of vinyl waste they deposit. The rewards could be allocated as points in exchange for redeemable shopping vouchers.
Once the bins are full and the materials ready for collection, the Massmart store would notify nearby waste management companies or recyclers. These recyclers could be encouraged to pay the store a fee for the material to offset the rewards paid out to consumers.
Adri encourages PVC packaging value chain representatives to join the Vinyl Loop working group tasked with driving this initiative. In addition to Adri, the working group currently consists of George Dimond (SAVA chairman), Annabé Pretorius (Plastix 911), Wessel Oelofse (Mpact Plastics), Kalev Taim (Mpact Plastics), Pieter de Bruyn (Cibapac), Fanie Ferreira (Amka) and Alistair Calder (Sun Ace SA).
For more details about joining the working group, email: firstname.lastname@example.org