Plastics SA’s annual survey into plastics recycling, has showed that the growing public pressure to recycle is working. The results for the period ending December 2016, revealed an increase of recycled plastic in South Africa.
1.144 million tons of recyclable plastic entered the waste stream last year, of which 41.8% was recycled in South Africa based on input tonnages. This is a year-on-year increase of 5.9%. An expanding amount of organisations and consumers become actively involved in upstream collection efforts, resulting in a positive impact on the amount of plastic collected and recycled.
What’s more, is that the plastic industry is taking strain. The increase in recycling was not because of an increased amount of plastic products entering the market. Both South African and international plastics manufacturing and recycling industries have been taking strain over the past two years. More end-markets needed to be developed as a matter of urgency to ensure take-off for recycled materials.
South Africa had 204 active recyclers who mechanically reprocessed plastics materials, such as plastic packaging, towards the end of 2016. Recyclers had an oversupply of recyclate for the first time in many years in 2016.
The survival of the recycling industry relies on creating more demands for recycled materials in order to prevent bottle-necks and stock that does not move off their factory floors.
Currently, South Africa only makes use of mechanical recycling, as no other commercial facilities currently exist for alternative plastics recycling. Compared to Europe’s mechanical recycling rate of 29.7%, South Africa can be proud of its recycling rate of 41.8% for all plastics.