SOUTH AFRICA – The South African (SA) Plastic Pact, a collaborative platform aimed to tackle plastic waste and pollution has been launched developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) in partnership with the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) and the UK’s WRAP.

The SA Plastics Pact will be managed and delivered by GreenCape, with the founding members committed to a series of ambitious targets for 2025 to prevent plastics from becoming waste or pollution.

GreenCape is recognised as a trusted centre of expertise for the green economy in South Africa, and an expert facilitator of regional green economic development, removing barriers to investment, enabling market growth and creating employment opportunities.

Following the launch, GreenCape, with the support of WWF-SA and WRAP, will develop the South African Plastics Pact roadmap for 2025 towards collective action in the local market, with annual public progress reporting.

The founding members of the Pact are the Clicks Group, Coca-Cola Africa, Danone,Distell, HomeChoice, Massmart, Myplas, Nampak Rigids, Pick n Pay, Polyoak, Polyplank, Shoprite Group, SPAR, Spur Corporation, TFG, Tigerbrands, Tuffy, Unilever, ADDIS, Waste Plan and Woolworths.

Other organisations include Fruit South Africa, SAPRO, the Polyolefin Responsibility Organisation, the Polystyrene Association of South Africa, the PET Recycling Company, the Southern African Vinyls Association, the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa, the National Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries and the City of Cape Town.

By 2025, all members commit to take action on problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models.

In addition to that, they aim that 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable while 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled and 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

In order to achieve these 2025 targets for a circular economy for plastic in South Africa, various activities are required such as designing out unnecessary plastic items, adopt reuse, recycle and compostable models.

Lorren de Kock, WWF-SA Project Manager Circular Plastics Economy said, “The SA Plastics Pact has the advantage of working with an established recycling sector but there are challenges.”

“Through the SA Plastics Pact, we can support the development of a secondary resource or ‘circular economy’ in South Africa which will drive investment in infrastructure, support livelihoods and keep our environment free of plastic pollution.”

The first of its kind in Africa, the SA Plastics Pact joins France, the UK, the Netherlands and Chile, to exchange knowledge and collaborate to accelerate the transition to the circular economy for plastic.

In addition to that the Pact is the latest to join The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact global network, aligned with the New Plastics Economy vision.

“The Ellen MacArthur Foundation welcomes the announcement of the SA Plastics Pact, the first on the African continent to join the global Plastics Pact network.”

“We are looking forward to supporting the government and industry of South Africa in driving real change towards a circular economy for plastics, by eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic items, innovating to ensure that the plastics they do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulating the plastic items they use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment,” said Sander Defruyt, New Plastics Economy Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation:

The SA Plastics Pact was developed with funding support from the UN Environment, Sustainable Lifestyles & Education Programme, the UK’s Commonwealth Litter Programme, and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the British High Commission and the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.

Commending the UK government and UN Environment for their financial support Marcus Gover, WRAP CEO said,“The SA Plastics Pact members will be instrumental in transforming how plastic is produced and used, ensuring it stays in the economy and out of the environment while creating thousands of jobs for South Africans.”

“It’s also a great example of what can be achieved through rich collaboration and shared learning. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at WWF-SA, together with business members, to realise our ambitions,” he added.