Collecting PET Plastic Bottles
Good reasons to collect PET plastic bottles
- Plastic bottles are valuable and create income opportunities for informal collectors. If one person collects 200 bottles for 240 days of the year, it amounts to 1 450 kilograms per year. The 64 000 tonnes of post-consumer PET collected in 2014 translates into the creation of an estimated 44 000 income opportunities for informal collectors.
- Permanent jobs in the PET recycling industry are conservatively estimated at 1 335 (direct jobs at recyclers, excluding collectors), with capital investment to date of R665 million.
- Increased plastic bottle recycling leads to job creation in the waste management, product development, manufacturing and marketing sectors.
- Local authorities are obliged to increase recovery, recycling and composting of household waste to reach mandatory government targets. Separation at source projects have to be initiated by municipalities by 2016.
- Recycling reduces landfill requirements, thus increasing the life of landfill sites and cutting disposal costs. Landfill costs are set to increase rapidly over the coming years.
- Plastic bottle recycling provides a valuable public service. People generally want to recycle plastics, and there is high demand for this service.
- PET bottles are made of one of the few polymers that can be recycled into the same form – a new beverage bottle – again. This neatly closes the recycling loop.
- Recycled PET or rPET resin demand is on the rise, because of its environmental pedigree. Food-grade rPET resin (according to US FDA and EU standards) for the bottle blowing and sheet thermoforming markets has displaced imports.
- Plastic bottles are widely used, abundant and very visual. There is the potential for increased recycling to remove an even more significant volume from the waste stream than is currently the case.
- Recycling plastic bottles decreases the need for raw materials and saves energy. Recycling a single tonne of plastic bottles saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon. Currently 5.4 million post-consumer PET bottles are already being recycled daily in SA.