JOHANNESBURG – IN a boost for recycling efforts nationally, Africa’s largest PET plastic recycler has announced a R200-million expansion which will put South Africa firmly on course to meet its recycling and job creation targets for the next five years.
The announcement this week by Extrupet joint managing director Chandru Wadhwani outlined the upgrade of the PhoenixPET food-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) facility in Germiston – a move which will double the current installed recycling capacity from 20,000 to 40,000 metric tons per annum.
He said the target date for commencing the additional supply was the third quarter of 2019.
“Our board remain firmly committed to the recycling of PET, as we have done for almost two decades. These expansion plans are a testament to our willingness to support the PET industry’s growing mandate towards meeting the goals of the circular economy,” said Wadhwani.
The PET Recycling Company (PETCO), which is the national body responsible for driving the recycling of post-consumer plastic bottles throughout the PET value chain, welcomed Extrupet’s announcement.
PETCO chief executive officer Cheri Scholtz applauded the investment, adding that the expansion would allow brand owners to specify even higher levels of recycled content and reduce reliance on virgin PET products.
“It certainly strengthens South Africa’s position as a circular economy leader in Africa and places us competitively within the global packaging market,” said Scholtz. “The PET industry has a long-standing commitment to use locally sourced rPET in new packaging, and in 2017, we saw record levels of demand for bottle-to-bottle rPET. “
Over the next five years, PETCO aims to see jobs created by the various PET recycling projects it supports grow from the current 2,400 to over 3,100. It also wants to see 75,000 people benefit from various industry income opportunities over this period.
By entering into five-year contracts with its recycling partners, Scholtz said PETCO had demonstrated its commitment to supporting their growth and efforts to meet the market demand.
“The result is a confident investment by stakeholders such as Extrupet. We are well on track to meeting our target of 70% post-consumer PET bottles recycled by 2022,” Scholtz said.