SOUTH AFRICA – Africa’s largest PET bottle recycler Extrupet has announced plans to inject US$14.99 million into South Africa’s economy to help meet recycling and job creation goals for the next five years.

Plans by Extrupet, which recycles about 2.5m plastic bottles per day, would help the country achieve its post-consumer recycling targets set for 2022, Business Day has reported.

“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,” said PET Recycling Company (PETCO) chief executive officer Cheri Scholtz.

The company is also looking to upgrade their food-grade recycled PET (rPET) facility in Germiston, Johannesburg, doubling its capacity from 20,000 to 40,000 tons per annum.

According to Extrupet joint managing director Chandru Wadhwani, 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,” said Wadhwani.

“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.”

Creating a circular economy

The expansion would not only reduce reliance on virgin plastics but also strengthen South Africa as a circular economy leader in Africa and global packaging market.

This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding by BRICS ministers on Environmental Cooperation at the 10th BRICS Summit.

The cooperation seeks to promote matters related to air quality, water, biodiversity, climate change, waste management and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In an interview with Business Report, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said the BRICS countries would implement circular economies to vigorously drive waste recycling and reusing of material such as plastic more than once.

Last year alone, SA’s domestic plastic industry is said to have recycled a record 2.15bn PET plastic bottles at a post-consumer recycling rate of 65%, higher than the target 58% in year.

According to Plastics SA, an estimated US$33.62m was injected into the economy at the primary sourcing level through the procurement of recyclables, creating income to more than 58,100 workers last year.

The PET Recycling Company (PETCO) announced five-year contracts with its recycling partners, demonstrating its commitment to supporting growth and efforts to meet the market demand.

A 2017 Transparency Market Research indicated that the global PET market was expected to reach US$39.16bn by the end of 2024.